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US will not take sides in South China Sea territorial dispute

US and Chinese militaries to develop more relations The United States will maintain its presence in the South China Sea but not show prejudice toward any side involved in the territorial dispute there, the top US military officer has said.US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Chairman Mike Mullen also expected the US and Chinese militaries to develop 'more tangible relations' that match Beijing''s rising role and its deepening relations with Washington."The worry, among others that I have, is that the ongoing incidents could spark a miscalculation, and an outbreak that no one anticipated," China Daily quoted Admiral Mullen, as saying at a news conference, ahead of his visit to Beijing.His visit to China comes after the US and the Philippines held a 11-day joint naval exercise in the South China Sea."We have an enduring presence here, we have an enduring responsibility. We seek to strongly support the peaceful resolution of these differences," he added.Admiral Mullen would call on People Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde on Monday.He is also due to meet other high-level Chinese government and military leaders including Vice-President Xi Jinping.He said that exchanges between Chinese and US militaries should take into account the fact that ...

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US issued a licence permitting exportations to Iran

The exemption will expire on 23 August Notwithstanding the recent designation of Tidewater by the US and the asset freeze imposed by the EU, the US yesterday issued a licence permitting the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to the Government of Iran, any entity in Iran, individuals in Iran, or persons in third countries through Tidewater ports where the goods were shipped under a contract entered into prior to June 23, 2011, requiring delivery through a port or ports operated by Tidewater. To qualify a person engaged in this shipment must obtain a licence from OFAC.The exemption will expire on 23 August.Click here for the OFAC notice.Source: North of England P&I Club

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EU moves to introduce mutual recognition of certification for ship machinery

Us stated its opposition Flag-state are highly opposed to European Union (EU) move to introduce mutual recognition of certification for ship machinery.US stated its opposition at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting last month and a growing number of flag states are ready show their contradiction towards the EU initiative.The debate is set to be taken forward to next month's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting.The opposition centres around concerns that non-EU flag states will have to accept marine equipment that has been approved through a system of mutual certification under which classification societies accept each other's certification without conducting their own survey. Under the current system, EU wants ship equipment to be individually certified on a case-by-case basis by the same classification society that certifies the hull.Other countries such as Panama, South Korea, Japan and Liberia are expected to join the US in arguing that accepting mutually certified ship machinery poses a threat to national sovereignty.It is also believed that mutual recognition will make European ship machinery more competitive and put them at a competitive advantage over Asian rivals.European Marine Equipment Council president Lars-Gorvell Dahall tells that the EU had the right to promote mutual ...

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A US role in the South China Sea

Philippines to seek U.S. support Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was in Washington last week for a rather specific purpose:to seek U.S. support in his country's growing territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea. Mr. del Rosario told us he was seeking a "clarification" of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States;he would like a U.S. statement suggesting it applies to a gas-rich seabed the Philippines and China are contesting. His government also would like help in beefing up its navy, perhaps through the lease of patrol boats.These are tricky requests for the Obama administration, which has been trying to avoid taking sides in the increasingly dangerous clashes between China and its neighbors over a huge and vital Asian waterway that Beijing - in apparent contravention of international law - claims entirely for itself. China would like the United States to stay out of its disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, so that it can deal with each of those weaker countries in turn. "I believe the individual countries are actually playing with fire," Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said Wednesday, "and I hope the fire will not be drawn to ...

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China urges U.S. to stay out of the South China Sea dispute

Supporting that U.S. involvement may make the situation worse China urged the United States on Wednesday to leave the South China Sea dispute to the claimant states, saying that U.S. involvement may make the situation worse, its most direct warning to Washington in recent weeks.Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai's comments to a small group of foreign reporters ahead of a meeting with U.S. officials in Hawaii this weekend come amid the biggest flare-up in regional tension in years over competing maritime sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.Tension has risen in the region in the past month on concern that China is becoming more assertive in its claim to waters believed to be rich in oil and gas.Part of the waters are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam."The United States is not a claimant state to the dispute in the South China Sea and so it's better for the United States to leave the dispute to be sorted out between claimant states," Cui said."While some American friends may want the United States to help in this matter, we appreciate their gesture but more often than not such gestures will only make things more complicated," he ...

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US shows interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea

Supporting for peaceful resolution regarding territorial disputes in the region The United States, like the rest of the world, has a deep interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and in helping defuse tensions over territorial disputes there, a senior defense official said yesterday.Speaking on background at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on maritime security in the South China Sea, the official reiterated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clintons support for peaceful resolution regarding territorial disputes in the strategically critical region.The South China Sea is a vital shipping lane that possesses vast oil and gas deposits. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines all lay claim to overlapping parts of it, causing regional friction and several recent confrontations.The United States, like every nation, has an interest in the freedom of navigation and open access to Asias maritime commons and with respect for international law in the South China Sea, the official said at theforum.He cited Gates comments earlier this month at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, where the secretary emphasized U.S. support for freedom of navigation and unimpeded economic development and commerce and respect ...

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U.S. may deploy anti-piracy navy ship

The Obama administration is currently reviewing its policy against piracy The United States has pledged to help Tanzania in the war against piracy. The US secretary of State, Mrs Hilary Clinton, made the pledge during a co-press conference with his host, President Jakaya Kikwete, at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday.Her remarks came after President Kikwete informed her that lack of facilities such as navy ships that could fight the pirates in the deep water hindered Tanzania's crusade against piracy. President Kikwete said the country was considering talking to the US to see how it could help Tanzania fight piracy in the Indian Ocean.However, in her response, Mrs Clinton was non-committal and didn't specify if her country was ready to send the appropriate facilities to contain pirates who were operating from Somalia."The Obama administration is currently reviewing its policy against piracy. We will try to see what we have not been doing and what should be done in the future regarding piracy," she said. She added: "I cannot say precisely that we will give you the required navy ships because that will depend very much on the outcome of the review."Mrs Clinton also commended Tanzania for its efforts ...

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China overtakes US as top energy consumer

China moved to the top in 2010 with 40,8% percent of global coal consumption A new report says that China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest consumer of energy.Oil company BP said Wednesday that China moved to the top in 2010 with 20.3% of global demand, ahead of the United States at 19%.The report says China's consumption rose by 11.2% last year compared with 3.7% in the United States. China's surge led a 5.6% increase in global energy demand, the biggest one-year jump since 1973.China was by far the world's largest consumer of coal, taking 48%. The United States remained the largest consumer of oil with 21% of global demand, double China's consumption.Source: Associated Press

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US forecasters predict 3 to 6 major hurricanes in Atlantic

Hurricane season: June 1 - November 30 U.S. government forecasters announced Thursday they expect three to six major hurricanes from an above average Atlantic storm season.No major hurricane has made a U.S. landfall in five years, but the forecasters warned U.S. coastal residents that odds are diminished that they can't expect a sixth straight year without a major landfall on either the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.As many as 18 named tropical storms may develop during the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1, according to forecasters at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. Six to 10 of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph, the agency said. Three to six could become major hurricanes, with maximum winds of 111 mph and up.Last year's hurricane season was one of the busiest on record with 19 named storms, including 12 hurricanes. The 2011 season was not expected to be as extreme, partly because ocean temperatures were only two degrees warmer than normal, instead of four degrees warmer as they were last year, said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco."We still expect that to support an above average hurricane season," Lubchenco said.Also, a Pacific Ocean weather phenomenon ...

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DOJ crewman sentenced for murder on the high seas

6 years in prison THOMAS J. POOLE, IV, age 45, a resident of Foley, Alabama, was sentenced today in federal court by U. S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon to over six (6) years (78 months) in prison for killing fishing boat captain Michael Holman while aboard a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, announced United States Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, the defendant was ordered to serve three (3) years supervised release during which time he will be under federal supervision and risks additional imprisonment should he violate the terms of his release.According to court documents, on October 7, 2009, Michael Holman, also a resident of Alabama, was killed while captaining a fishing vessel, the M/V MISS SHARLOTT. At the time of the incident, the vessel was on a week-long fishing voyage and was located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately eighteen miles off the coast of Louisiana. In the early morning hours of October 7, 2009, a heated argument erupted between POOLE, who was a crew member, and Holman.Source: US Department of Justice

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