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The Trump administration pressured Indonesia into dropping deals to buy Russian-made fighter jets and Chinese naval vessels, part of a global effort to prevent its top adversaries from eroding the US’s military superiority.Indonesia recently decided against moving ahead with a plan to procure 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets for about $1.1 billion, according to an official familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details of discussions remain private. As recently as last month, the official said, the US also pressured Indonesia into walking away from talks with China to procure several naval patrol vessels for about $200 million.The move to set aside the deals came after US officials made it clear Indonesia could face sanctions for dealing with Russia, the official said. President Joko Widodo’s administration was also worried the US would take punitive actions on trade if it went ahead with the China deal, the official said. The moves illustrate how the US is having some success — at times by using financial and economic levers — deterring countries from dealing with Russia and China, which the Trump administration has identified as the biggest threats to American national security. The US hasn’t fared as well trying to convince countries to avoid using Huawei Technologies Co. for 5G mobile networks, with the UK most notably rebuffing President Donald Trump’s entreaties.Russian missilesThe US has publicly sparred with Turkey over Russian weapons, particularly its plan to activate an advanced S-400 missile-defense system. It has also pressured India to cancel a contract worth more than $5 billion to buy the S-400 system.Under a barter deal announced in August 2017, Indonesia planned to purchase the 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for Russia buying goods such as rubber, crude palm oil, coffee, tea, furniture and spices. The agreement was eventually signed by former Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu in February 2018. While doubts have persisted for some time over whether the deal had been shelved, last month the Jakarta Post reported that the deal was in limbo and a final decision would be made later. Dahnil Simanjuntak, a spokesman for Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, declined to comment when contacted Thursday.“It is not a secret that the United States exerts undisguised pressure on countries who intend to buy Russian defense equipment,” Lyudmila Vorobieva, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia, said in a statement provided via text message. “The aim is clear — to make these countries refuse to get arms from Russia and turn to Washington instead. Of course it is unfair competition that violates rules and norms of transparent and legitimate business.”In several meetings with US counterparts, including the secretary of defense, Indonesian officials repeatedly asked why they were being told not to buy the Russian fighter jets, the official said. The Americans said simply it was their policy, the official said, adding that Indonesia suspected it was also because the Russian fighters would provide an edge over neighbors Australia and Singapore.The Americans instead told the Indonesians to consider buying American-made F-16 Vipers, the official said. However, the official said, Indonesia is instead looking to negotiate the purchase of F-35 aircraft developed as part of the multi-nation Joint Strike Fighter program.The JSF program, headed by the US, includes the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Norway. Singapore recently agreed to purchase aircraft under the program, while Japan is the largest foreign buyer of the jet.The official said the US made clear that Widodo’s government risked being penalized for purchasing the Sukhoi fighter jets under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which applies to Russia and several other countries. The direct threat for purchasing the Chinese vessels was less clear, the official said, but the government saw itself as vulnerable on trade.The US is unable to comment on private diplomatic conversations, a State Department spokesperson said by email. The US urges all allies and partners to avoid new transactions of Russian military equipment to avoid sanctions under CAATSA, the spokesperson said, adding that the goal of American policy is to deny Russia the revenue it needs to continue its “malign influence.”The decision to scrap the deals was made after Indonesian officials concluded it would be a misstep to get on the wrong side of the US, the official said. Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, in coordination with Prabowo, decided it would be dangerous to risk the trade relationship, the official said.Senior members of Widodo’s administration have expressed concern in recent years that Trump would target Indonesia over its trade surplus with the US, which amounted to about $10.7 billion in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The coronavirus further threatens economic damage: Indonesia’s stocks have tumbled into a bear market and its currency has been Asia’s worst performer in the past month.US-China balanceFor Indonesia, the competition between the US and China is a sensitive balancing act. While China has offered cheap financing for much-needed infrastructure such as railways, ports and power plants through its Belt and Road Initiative, the US remains a key export market and a valuable strategic hedge against China, particularly in contested waters.Indonesia has faced criticism over its willingness to do business with Huawei, with Australia warning late last year that it would impact intelligence sharing with its northern neighbor. Indonesian Communications Minister Johnny G. Plate said in an interview the government had no intention of banning Huawei, and would be guided only by its own national interest.The Indonesia deal for Chinese naval patrol vessels was discussed during a visit to China by Prabowo. It was one of several recent trips made by the former special-forces general as part of a scouting tour to procure weapons systems and other hardware. He has also visited Russia, Turkey, Germany and France.Topics :
Kovac will have to do without in-form midfield maestro Thiago, who tore an ankle ligament against Roedinghausen.– Dortmund’s defensive disaster –Leaders Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, are facing a defensive crisis as they look to keep Bayern at bay with a win in Wolfsburg.With Manuel Akanji, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer all out injured, things went from bad to worse when Abdou Diallo limped off the field early in Dortmund’s 3-2 cup win over Union Berlin on Wednesday.Raphael Guerreiro is set to take Diallo’s place in defence, while up front, Mario Goetze has also been ruled out with bronchitis.– Bayer all grown up –Julian Brandt has said that he and his Bayer Leverkusen team mates have gone from boys to men in the space of a few days.In full-blown crisis this time last week, Leverkusen look a side transformed as they prepare to host Hoffenheim, having chalked up a 6-2 win over Werder Bremen and a 5-0 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last few days.“We couldn’t have even dreamed of this a week ago,” said Brandt. “At the beginning of the season, we were playing like children, we were naive. Now, the little kiddies have grown up.”Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 Berlin, Germany | AFP | Arjen Robben has admitted that Bayern Munich are some way from their best form as they head into what he says is a must-win game for the Bundesliga champions at Freiburg on Saturday.The Dutch winger said that he and his team mates needed to be “self-critical” as they bid to return to the top of the Bundesliga this weekend.Bayern are two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who have been plunged into an injury crisis ahead of a tricky trip to Wolfsburg, and have the chance ot overtake Dortmund ahead of their face-to-face next week.Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to continue their explosive return to form against Hoffenheim, while Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl is hoping to shake off comparisons with the Bundesliga’s worst ever team.Here are five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend.– Bayern’s bad patch –Bayern Munich may have won their last four games, but both coach Niko Kovac and his players know that they need to improve when they host Freiburg on Saturday.“We’re not playing our best football at the moment,” Arjen Robben told Amazon Music this week, after watching his teammates labour to a 2-1 cup win over fourth tier side SV Roedinghausen.“We need to win against Freiburg, maybe we can take another step forward and gain confidence before we play Dortmund the week after.”
A staff at Firestone Liberia shows Daily Observer’s Publisher, Kenneth Y. Best, some finished products produced at the Firestone rubber wood factory.Authorities at the Firestone Rubber Company in Firestone recently laid off 76 of its workers due to what it calls losses at its Rubber Wood Factory and admits a plan to shut it down anytime soon.Recently, Margibi County District #1 Representative Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh visited Division #16 in Firestone on a call from a group of downsized employees at the Rubber Wood Factory. The aggrieved workers complained that their loss of employment has caused hundreds of family members and relatives to go hungry and their children may not continue their education due to their lack of capacity to pay their fees should they leave the dwelling places of the company.The spokesperson of the redundant workers, Vadimani Kollie, said Firestone has not given them what they deserve even though the company has asked them to stop working. He expressed concern over his children and those of his fellow workers.In an attempt to seek some help in favor of residents of Gazon Town, Firestone Division #16, Representative Tarponweh said his quest is that the government should buy pieces of Firestone furniture in order to allow the company to make money and keep the workers. “I understand what the company is going through but I am also worried about the aftermath of its (Firestone’s) decision leading to the reduction of manpower,” he said. He added that he has consulted with Margibi Senator Oscar Cooper who also has expressed interest in seeing to it that Firestone reconsiders its decision and call back the workers it has laid off.He expressed the hope that the government does business with Firestone by buying the different set of furniture produced in order to allow the company to keep residents in the area and others who have migrated there in search of livelihood to remain at work.Firestone Liberia’s outgoing general manager and chief executive officer, Eduardo Garcia, said business is for profit-making, but when conditions are so unfavorable that challenge a business against its progress and longevity, the wise thing to do is to close the business down.Stockpiles of Processed Firestone rubberwood, which the company says has sat in the factory without buyers for over a year.Treated wood as well as furniture for households, schools and offices, are produced at the Rubber Wood Factory, and sold in the country.Garcia told the Daily Observer recently that there appears to be no remedy to challenges the business was encountering, even if the government should come in to do business with his company.“We were in a meeting recently with the Representative of this district where we clearly made our concern known that we cannot continue this business, while there is no profit,” he said.Mr. Garcia said that the recent laying off of workers at the factory was predicated upon the losses his company continues to experience, which poses a serious challenge in meeting payroll requirements.He said due to lots of financial constraints, the company is indebted in the sum of over U$200 million.“People think all is well with Firestone-Liberia, but it is not so. We are seriously challenged with making more money due to low prices of rubber on the world market. We don’t decide the price of rubber but Singapore, and another important thing the public should know is that Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, and Ivory Coast are among other high natural rubber producing countries that have greater advantages than us,” Garcia said.He added that while Liberians’ desire for Firestone to begin manufacturing of rubber products in the country is good, what they need to know is that the cost of manufacturing of rubber materials in the country is too high.“While is true that we want more Liberians to work with our company, the conditions on the ground are not favorable for us to venture into manufacturing. We would have to import everything we need for the manufacturing, and getting quality equipment from overseas to Liberia is nothing to joke about,” Garcia said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
zoom Greek shipowner Euroseas has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Poseidon Container Holdings Group, an owner and operator container carriers, to consider a possible combination of their respective containership fleets.Poseidon owns and operates a fleet of sixteen container carriers including four feeder containerships, two Panamax, and four Post-Panamax containerships as well as six Post-Panamaxes.As disclosed, the possible combination may include a spinoff of Euroseas’ container assets into a standalone company or take the form of a different structure.Euronav expects that any combination with Poseidon would be done on a net asset value (NAV) to NAV basis. NAV is typically calculated as the difference between the market value of a company’s assets net of the market value of its liabilities.“Euroseas’ strategy is to use its operating expertise and public company status to provide a platform of consolidation for similar assets in the drybulk and containership sectors. This strategy may be implemented by separating Euroseas’ drybulk and containership fleets into two public companies if the Board of Directors determines that such a split would benefit Euroseas’ shareholders, particularly if it may also facilitate Euroseas’ consolidation strategy,” the company said.Euroseas stressed that the discussions are “at an early stage, that the letter of intent is non-binding, and that there can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached with Poseidon or any other party.”Separately, Euroseas said that it took delivery of M/V EM Athens, a feeder containership of 2,506 TEU built in 2000 that it acquired last month from Euromar, its wholly-owned subsidiary. M/V EM Athens was acquired along with EM Oinousses, a feeder-size containership also of 2,506 TEU built in 2000.Furthermore, the shipowner has exercised its option to purchase from Euromar two additional containerships, the M/V EM Corfu, of 2,556 TEU built in 2001, and the M/V Akinada Bridge, a Post-Panamax size containership of 5,600 TEU built in 2001.Euroseas said the latest acquisitions would be financed via a combination of debt and equity. The M/V EM Oinousses, M/V EM Corfu and M/V Akinada Bridge are expected to be delivered to the company within 2017.Euroseas has a fleet of 21 vessels in the water. With the addition of the Kamsarmax newbuilding yet to be delivered, it will have seven drybulk carriers with a total cargo capacity of 499,753 dwt, and fifteen containerships with a total cargo capacity of 34,044 TEU.