Indonesian mine dispute: US miner Freeport McMoran’s dispute with the Indonesian government could intensify as workers lose jobs and top US politicians take special interest in the case, writes John McBeth. Freeport’s vast Grasberg mine provides 35% of the GDP for the provinces of Papua and West Papua and if the dispute is not resolved it could help reignite the region’s smoldering independence movement.
Pyongyang missile build-up: US defense officials are increasingly concerned that North Korea’s growing missile capabilities could overwhelm the combined defences on or near the Korean peninsula, reports Harry J. Kazianis. While the officials give US President Donald Trump credit for the speedy introduction this year of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, they say such additions won’t be enough against a sustained attack by Pyongyang.
Pakistan and Afghanistan: A high-level meeting in London on Wednesday was aimed at reducing tensions between Islamabad and Kabul following a series of major terrorist attacks in Pakistan, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar. The talks, painstakingly brokered by the UK, are an attempt to start to untie a three-way knot that tangles Afghanistan, India, Pakistan over allegations and counter-allegations regarding the offering of sanctuary to militant groups.
Tillerson in Asia: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaking in Tokyo said the escalating threat from North Korea’s nuclear program showed a clear need for a “new approach,” although he stopped short of detailing what steps the Trump administration would pursue. Reuters reports that Tillerson described the previous two decades of diplomatic and other efforts to denuclearize Pyongyang, including the United States giving aid to North Korea, as a “failed approach”.