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ASEAN in disarray over Chinese claims

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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ASEAN in disarray over Chinese claims | The Thaiger

BANGKOK: China’s territorial claims to the South China Sea are expected to be dealt a blow today as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague (PCA) is scheduled to announce its decision on seven issues advanced by the Philippines against the People’s Republic.

The PCA, one of the world’s oldest and most widely-respected bodies for resolving international disputes, is likely to rule that China’s campaign of island building and its claims over areas of the sea contradicts international maritime accords.

China currently lays claim to some 2 million square kilometers of maritime space through a post-World War II plan known as the ‘nine-dash-line’. Only one of the seven submissions made by the Philippines, an ASEAN member, directly address the legality of Chinese claims. If the PCA found in favor of the Philippines in the other six submissions, it would undermine the legality of Chinese actions in the region.
To that effect, the People’s Republic has refused to take part in the PCA’s deliberations and has actively called into question the legitimacy of the body itself.

The Chinese government has also launched a national media campaign at home, in what appears to be an attempt to solidify government support ahead of international repudiation.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, says that the dispute between China and the Philippines is straining relations between ASEAN members, particularly between the more maritime-dependent Philippines and Vietnam and smaller ASEAN states located in China’s back yard.

“In fact, China is drumming up its own international support ahead of the PCA’s imminent decision, including a side agreement with Brunei, Cambodia and Laos that the international ruling will not impinge on ASEAN-China relations,” Mr Thitinan wrote in an op-ed piece in the Straits Times last month .

Should the PCA rule in favor of the Philippines, Mr Thitinan thinks it likely that those side agreements would undermine the unification of ASEAN by driving a wedge between the Philippines and Vietnam on the one hand, and Brunei, Cambodia and Laos on the other.

“The Manila-Beijing contest over the South China Sea has emerged as the most daunting and existential threat to all that ASEAN has achieved as the central linchpin of regionalism in Asia,” he wrote.

The stakes are high, both for China, which is expected to ignore the ruling if the Court finds in favor of the Philippines, and for ASEAN members, as Chinese influence erodes the economic organization’s political cooperation.

More than half the tonnage of the world’s global trade passes through the South China Sea annually, making it the second most used sea lane in the world.

The expected Chinese disregard for the PCA’s rulings and its undermining of ASEAN political unity also threatens claims by Vietnam and other member states to disputed off shore oil fields. The US Department of Energy Information estimates that there are oil reserves of around 11 billion barrels and natural gas of about 266 trillion cubic feet beneath the South China Sea bed.

The PCA has no means of enforcing whatever decision it delivers today. That means that should the Philippines wish to enforce its territorial claims against those advanced by China, it would find itself very much outgunned by the Chinese navy. This may shed some light as to the United States’ decision to dispatch two carrier-groups to Philippine waters over the last couple weeks.

With additional reporting by Wes Martin of the Phuket Gazette.

— Pornpimol Kanchanalak / The Nation



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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Southeast Asia

Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular?

The Thaiger

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Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular? | The Thaiger

The world’s top five flying routes are all in the Asia Pacific region, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Aviation writers say the growth can be attributed to the addition of flights operated by low-cost carriers in the region.

Passenger traffic between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong airport is Number Two on the list of the airports with the world’s busiest air traffic. The trip between Hong Kong and Taipei Taoyuan, Taiwan, is the most popular route in the world carrying 5.4 million passengers per year.

Passenger traffic between Suvarnabhumi and Hong Kong reached 3.4 million in 2018, up 9% from 2017.

The report of IATA world airline traffic for 2018 also shows that airlines in the Asia Pacific carried the largest number of passengers in the world.

Global passenger traffic results for 2018 showed that demand rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017. Although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8.0%, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director-general and CEO.

In terms of pure numbers of flights for 2018, here are the results. Eight out of ten of the routes are all in the Asia-Pacific.

  1. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore: 30,187 flights
  2. Hong Kong – Taipei: 28,447 flights
  3. Jakarta – Singapore: 27,046 flights
  4. Hong Kong – Shanghai: 20,678 flights
  5. Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur: 19,741 flights
  6. Seoul Incheon – Osaka: 19,711 flights
  7. New York LaGuardia – Toronto: 17,038 flights
  8. Hong Kong – Seoul Incheon: 15,770 flights
  9. Bangkok – Singapore: 14,698 flights
  10. Dubai – Kuwait: 14,581 flights
  11. Bangkok – Hong Kong: 14,556 flights
  12. Hong Kong – Beijing: 14,537 flights
  13. New York JFK – London Heathrow: 14,195 flights
  14. Tokyo Narita – Taipei: 13,902 flights
  15. Dublin – London Heathrow: 13,855 flights
  16. Osaka – Shanghai: 13,708 flights
  17. Hong Kong – Singapore: 13,654 flights
  18. Chicago O’Hare – Toronto: 13,503 flights
  19. Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita: 13,517 flights
  20. Osaka – Taipei: 13,325 flights
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Tourism

Which flight route makes the most money in the world?

The Thaiger

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Which flight route makes the most money in the world? | The Thaiger

The world of aviation now has its first billion dollar route. That’s a flight route that makes more money for an airline than any other. And for the first time that route has breached the one billion dollar ceiling – British Airways’ service between London Heathrow and New York’s JFK.

OAG has come up with a list of the routes and airlines that generate the highest revenue around the world.

The Heathrow to JFK route pockets British Airways more than $1.15 billion in the 12 months up to April 2019. With 600+ flights per month, that equates to an hourly revenue of $27,159, a 10% increase on last year’s revenue. British Airways operates the venerable Boeing 747 and Boeing 777-200s on its Heathrow to JFK services.

So where is the second most profitable flight route in the world? QANTAS Airways’ domestic service between the southern cities of Melbourne and Sydney generates more than $861 million a year for Australia’s national airline.

Number 3 and 4 were also flights out of London’s Heathrow – Emirates’ service to Dubai and Singapore Airlines’ route to Singapore Changi. The Heathrow flights to Doha with Qatar Airways was number 7 and Cathay Pacific’s flights to Hong Kong were Number 8.

North American domestic routes also figured in the top 10. United Airlines’ San Francisco to Newark route delivered annual revenue of $689 million dollars and Air Canada’s Vancouver to Toronto route was Number 9 with annual revenue of $541 million dollars.

Highest-revenue flight routes: April 2018 – March 2019

1. British Airways: New York JFK – London Heathrow

(Total revenue: $1,159,126,794 / revenue per hour: $27,159)

2. Qantas Airways: Melbourne – Sydney

(Total revenue: $861,260,322 / revenue per hour: $23,773)

3. Emirates: London Heathrow – Dubai International

(Total revenue: $796,201,645 / revenue per hour: $24,926)

4. Singapore Airlines: London Heathrow – Singapore Changi

(Total revenue: $735,597,614 / revenue per hour: $18,771)

5. United Airlines: San Francisco International – Newark

(Total revenue: $689,371,368 / revenue per hour: $12,882)

6. American Airlines: Los Angeles LAX – New York JFK

(Total revenue: $661,739,788 / Revenue per hour: $13,099)

7. Qatar Airways: London Heathrow – Hamad International

(Total revenue: $639,122,609 / revenue per hour: $20,415)

8. Cathay Pacific Airways: Hong Kong International – London Heathrow

(Total revenue: $604,595,063 / revenue per hour: $13,887)

9. Singapore Airlines: Sydney – Singapore Changi

(Total revenue: $549,711,946 / revenue per hour: $20,821)

10. Air Canada: Vancouver YVR – Toronto Pearson International

(Total revenue: $541,122,509 / revenue per hour: $11,936)

SOURCE: CNN Travel

 

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Business

Asian stock markets follow Wall Street’s lead downward this morning

The Thaiger

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Asian stock markets follow Wall Street’s lead downward this morning | The Thaiger

Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street’s lead this morning falling sharply as investors made their concerns apparent about economic recessions in some of the larger economies. They also reacted to more threats of instability from the trade war between the US and China.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index dropped 1.6% during this morning’s trading.

US markets led the march downward yesterday, with the Dow Jones closing just over 3% down with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 posting similar falls.

In other markets the Nikkei 225 dropped nearly 2%. In China, the Shenzhen Composite and Shanghai Composite dropped more than 1%, as did the Hang Seng shedding .5%. The reverse was the case in South Korea with the Kospi rising .5%. China’s industrial output grew by only 4.8% year-on-year in July. This growth rate was the lowest in 17 years. (Many other nations would have been delighted to have had a 4.8% growth rate!)

Meanwhile, the German GDP shrank by 0.1% in Q2 2019, raising fears that Europe’s largest economy is heading for recession. On Twitter, US President Donald Trump blamed the Federal Reserve, calling it “clueless” and noting he has repeatedly called for larger interest rate cuts.

Prominent economist and Noble prize laureate Paul Krugman downplayed threats of recession saying that “objectively, the economic problems are nowhere near as serious as 2008, or even 2001.”

“But we’re being led by the gang that couldn’t think straight.”

Krugman blamed Trump and his aides for poor economic policies and said that Fed is unlikely to come and rescue the markets, according to The Nation.

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