Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh during a press briefing where they announced the two Asian neighbors would work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam and Indonesia have pledged to work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea as the two countries seek to boost their bilateral trade.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, speaking to reporters Tuesday at a joint briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, said the two countries would strengthen their partnership, cooperating particularly on fishing and other maritime issues.
“In maritime and fishing cooperation, we agreed on how to conclude the ongoing issues in this regard,” she said via a translator. “We have also agreed to try together to complete the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone, because the demarcation of the EEZ between our two countries can enhance the interests of our two peoples as well as ensure security between our two countries.”
Since 2014, Indonesia has destroyed several hundred fishing vessels, most of them from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, for violating its waters. The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need to show its neighbors that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to handle fishing violations in line with both countries’ laws.
“On our part, Vietnam will continue to strengthen education and information so as to raise awareness of our fishermen not to violate other countries’ waters,” he said.
Marsudi said trade and investment between the two countries have seen positive developments, especially after the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013.
Bilateral trade stood at $6.8 billion last year and the two countries are targeting to bring it up to $10 billion in the next few years, she said.


Britain identifies Russians suspected of Skripal nerve attack — report

Updated 6 min 56 sec ago
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Britain identifies Russians suspected of Skripal nerve attack — report

LONDON: British police have identified several Russians who they believe were behind the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the Press Association reported on Thursday, citing a source close to the investigation.
Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.
Britain blamed Russia for the poisonings and identified the poison as Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.
After analyzing closed-circuit television, police think several Russians were involved in the attack on the Skripals, who spent weeks in hospital before being spirited to a secret location, Press Association reported.
“Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack,” the unidentified source close to the investigation said, according to PA.
“They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian,” said the source, adding security camera images had been cross checked with records of people who entered the country.
A police spokesman declined to comment on the report.
After the attack on the Skripals, allies in Europe and the US sided with Britain’s view of the attack and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.
Russia retaliated by expelling Western diplomats. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.
Mystery surrounds the attack.
The motive for attacking Skripal, an aged Russian traitor who was exchanged in a Kremlin-approved spy swap in 2010, is still unclear, as is the motive for using of an exotic nerve agent which has such overt links to Russia’s Soviet past.
Novichok put the Skripals into a coma, though after weeks in intensive care they were spirited to a secret location for their safety.
“My life has been turned upside down,” Yulia Skripal told Reuters in May. “Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful.”
A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died this month after coming across a small bottle containing Novichok near the city of Salisbury where the Skripals were struck down. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, is still in hospital.
A British police officer was also injured by Novichok while attending to the Skripals in March.