Tag Archives: Pacific

Russia laughs off US navy ship near its Pacific coast amid Black Sea tensions

Russia laughs off US navy ship near its Pacific coast amid Black Sea tensionsRussia has laughed off a US warship's “challenge” to its territorial claims in the Sea of Japan as “unsuccessful” while reacting angrily to reports that US ships could also enter the Black Sea.  The US naval activity comes less than two weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea last month in an escalation of existing tensions there. The guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell “sailed in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims” in a demonstrative “freedom of navigation” operation on Wednesday, the navy said. But the Russian defence ministry claimed on Thursday that the McCampbell had not come closer than 100 kilometres (62 miles) to its territorial waters and was currently “demonstrating its bravery” 250 miles from Russian shores.  A destroyer and several warplanes nonetheless followed the US ship, which tried to “get away at maximum speed,” the ministry said in a sarcastic statement carried on state television. Moscow has since Soviet times maintained that the entire Peter the Great Bay, which includes the home base of its Pacific fleet in Vladivostok, is historically Russian territory.  Washington on the other hand argues that Russian waters extend only 12 nautical miles from shore as per international law. In an unrelated incident, five marines were missing after an American fighter jet collided with a tanker plane during refuelling over the Sea of Japan on Thursday. Russia blocked the Kerch Strait with a tanker before seizing Ukrainian navy ships that tried to sail through last month Credit: Pavel Rebrov/Reuters The navy's freedom of navigation operation marked a geographical broadening of tensions between Russia and the US, which has previously focused on challenging Chinese claims in the South China Sea, most recently sailing naval ships near contested areas there last week.  The two Cold War foes are also at odds over a landmark arms control treaty that Donald Trump wants to abandon. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said on Wednesday Russia would develop new missiles if the US withdrew. Meanwhile, CNN reported that the US was notifying Turkey of “possible plans” to sail a warship into the Black Sea in response to the capture of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors there on November 25.  The ships were headed for Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, which has been controlled by Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.  US senator John Barrasso had called on Sunday for American and Nato ships to be sent to the Black Sea in a show of force against Russia.  Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, who is trailing in the polls before March's election, continues a string of appearances at military bases on Thursday Credit: Mikhail Palinchak/Presidential Press Service via AP The purported plan provoked a blustery response from Russian politicians and pundits on Thursday, with one warning Russia could repeat the incident of February 1988, when a Soviet frigate rammed a US cruiser in the Black Sea.  MP Yury Shvytkin vowed that Russia would “respond accordingly” if Russia's waters were violated.  “I wouldn't really want our submarines to have to surface off the American coast,” he said.  Following the seizure of its ships, Kiev has declared martial law and called up reservists in response to claims of a Russian troop buildup on its borders, which Moscow has denied. On Thursday, parliament moved forward on legislation claiming Ukraine's waters extend 24 nautical miles into the Black Sea.  In a New York Times editorial on Wednesday, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko told Western leaders to stop “appeasing” Mr Putin and adopt further sanctions on Russia in response to its “unprovoked military attack”.  The head of the Ukrainian fleet has offered himself in exchange for the 24 captured sailors, who face six years in prison on charges of violating Russia's borders. The Russian foreign ministry retorted that he should resign instead. 



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China's Xi makes push into Pacific; scores 'own goal' with block on media

China's Xi makes push into Pacific; scores 'own goal' with block on mediaChina’s efforts to win friends in the resource-rich Pacific push have been watched warily by the traditionally influential powers in the region – Australia, New Zealand and the United States – who were not invited to Friday’s forum. Many of those left out grumbled about what they saw as a lack of transparency around China’s efforts to gain new allies. “It just sends such a terrible signal,” said Jonathan Pryke of Sydney-based think-tank the Lowy Institute.



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Meghan and Harry name newly hatched kiwi chicks on final day of Pacific tour

Meghan and Harry name newly hatched kiwi chicks on final day of Pacific tourThe couple visited a breeding program for the endangered species and admired two three-day old chicks, whom they named Koha, meaning “gift”, and Tihei, derived from a phrase that means “sneeze of life” in the indigenous Te Reo Maori language. Earlier, Harry led a group at a Maori meeting ground in singing “Te Aroha”, a traditional song, whose name means “Love” in Te Reo. The couple were welcomed at Te Papaiouru Marae, visited by Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth in her coronation year of 1953, in Rotorua, a town famed for its geothermal activity and described by its mayor as the ‘heartland of Maori culture’.



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Royals Harry and Meghan arrive in Tonga on Pacific tour

Royals Harry and Meghan arrive in Tonga on Pacific tourNUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (AP) — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived Thursday in the tiny Pacific kingdom of Tonga, where people gathered at the airport to welcome them wearing traditional outfits, playing guitars and singing.



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Cathay Pacific shares slide to nine-year low as data leak rattles investors

Cathay Pacific shares slide to nine-year low as data leak rattles investorsShares of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd slid nearly 7 percent to a nine-year low on Thursday after it said data of about 9.4 million passengers of Cathay and its unit, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd, had been accessed without authorization. Cathay said late on Wednesday that in addition to 860,000 passport numbers and about 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, the hackers accessed 403 expired credit card numbers and 27 credit card numbers with no card verification value (CVV). The company said it discovered suspicious activity on its network in March 2018 and investigations in early May confirmed that certain personal data had been accessed.



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Body found inside plane days after it ditched into Pacific lagoon

Body found inside plane days after it ditched into Pacific lagoonA male passenger’s body has been found inside an airliner that ditched and sank in a lagoon last week after missing the runway on a remote Pacific island, officials said. The Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 was attempting to land at Weno airport in Micronesia on Friday morning but fell short of the runway and splashed down in Chuuk lagoon. “It is with great sadness I confirm that the body of a male passenger was discovered by divers today as they conducted a further search of P2-PXE and the surrounding area in Chuuk lagoon,” Air Niugini chief executive Tahawar Durrani said in a statement late Monday.



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Airline now says 1 missing after Pacific lagoon plane crash

Airline now says 1 missing after Pacific lagoon plane crashWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The airline operating a flight that crashed into a Pacific lagoon in Micronesia on Friday now says one man is missing, after earlier saying all 47 passengers and crew had safely evacuated the sinking plane.



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Plane ditches into Pacific lagoon

Plane ditches into Pacific lagoonThe Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 was attempting to land at Weno airport in Micronesia but ended up half submerged in Chuuk lagoon after the accident on Friday morning. The airline said the plane, which was involved in a collision with another aircraft earlier this year, had “landed short of the runway”. Remarkably, it reported no serious injuries among those on the plane, which was making a scheduled stop on its way from the Micronesian capital Pohnpei to Port Moresby.



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Plane misses runway and crash lands in Pacific lagoon – all passengers and crew survive

Plane misses runway and crash lands in Pacific lagoon - all passengers and crew surviveAll of the passengers and crew survived the crash landing of a plane in a Pacific lagoon. The Air Niugini plane hit the water short of the runway while trying to land at Chuuk Island in the Federated States of Micronesia on Friday morning. Striking footage from the scene shows people being rescued in boats from the half-submerged plane, in images reminiscent of the 2009 crash-landing in New York City known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." The airline said in a brief statement everybody on board the Boeing 737 plane was able to safely evacuate, and the airline was making all efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of the passengers and meet their immediate needs. The airline did not immediately say how many people were on boardthe plane, where it was traveling from, or what caused the crash. Local news reports indicated between 40 and 50 people were aboard. Air Niugini said everyone on board was safely rescued Credit: Akang San/Reuters Air Niugini is the national airline of Papua New Guinea and has been in operation since 1973. The fleet includes Boeing 767 and 737 jets for international routes, according to the airline, as well as Fokker F-100 aircraft, Q400 and Dash 8 aircraft for challenging local terrain. Micronesia, located north of Australia and east of the Philippines, is home to just over 100,000 people. Passengers are evacuated from an Air Niugini plane that crashed in the waters in Weno Credit: James Yaingeluo/Reuters It has close ties with the US under an agreement known as a compact of free association. In 2009, both engines on a US Airways jet failed after striking a flock of geese during takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles safely landed their powerless plane on the Hudson River. 



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Everybody on plane survives crash-landing in Pacific lagoon

Everybody on plane survives crash-landing in Pacific lagoonWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All of the passengers and crew survived the crash landing of a plane Friday morning in a Pacific lagoon.



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