I can't wait for this event at month's end!...
...it's the annual Shangri-la Dialogue here and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will be the keynote speaker. And as the Reuters story above noted (ST, May 14), China is expected to send its seasoned ex-diplomat Ms Fu Ying to spar with him. Both are excellent English speakers not likely to use interpreters:
Meanwhile, one contributor to The Diplomat website has imaginatively proposed that the four ASEAN claimants in the South China Sea dispute resolve their claims intramurally, then present a "united front" to get China to come to the negotiating table:
Solving Intra-ASEAN South China Sea Disputes
But such a united front will happen only when pigs can fly. Just as intriguingly, China has put out feelers to Taiwan to form their own united front:
Mainland proposes cross-Straits co-op on S China Sea issue
This too is unlikely to happen as Taiwan is wooing the ASEAN members to boost economic cooperation. But the four ASEAN claimant members would do well to keep watch. Taiwan is in possession of the disputed Spratly archipelago's largest island, Itu Aba (Taiping), which has an airfield that can take combat aircraft. Itu Aba is the most strategically and tactically useful asset in the Spratlys.
The Philippines is now charging that China is attempting to build an airstrip on Johnson South Reef, also in the Spratys and 300km from Manila's Palawan province.
The international shipping community, too, is concerned about China's positioning of its biggest oil rig in disputed waters said to be just 200km from the Vietnamese coast:
Escalating Tension Over Energy Recovery Worries Ocean Freight Shipping Community
I think the Philippines and the Vietnamese had better send their best debaters to the Shangri-la Dialogue too! And make sure that they are fluent in English.
Seeing Red: Local crime story
I thought the TODAY people should have added a little "colour" to this story below (May 14):
Those guys were caught red-handed! As we locals know, the Ah Long loons cum goons use red paint when they deface the homes of their victims:
So that headline above should have been given a little splash of colour:
'Loan sharks' were caught red-handed (literally)
Seeing Red: Don't Anyhow Use Hokkien!