Multiple East Asian nations affected . . .
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has “adamantly” condemned a reported attack on a Japanese-operated tanker near the Strait of Hormuz linking the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, with oil import-dependent economies across East Asia closely monitoring the developing situation. The attack on the two tankers involved a number of East Asian states: the Japanese Kokuka Courageous was carrying methanol to Singapore and Thailand, and its 21 Filipino sailors were safely evacuated by a nearby South Korean-operated vessel.
Indian Ocean shocker sends ripples across Pacific markets . . .
The U.S. has blamed Iran for the suspected attacks on the two oil tankers. Analysts and media commentators are hammering home the importance of the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow band of water that links the oil-rich Gulf region with the world’s oceans. Regional oil stocks mostly fell today as investor confidence struggled, while one set of oil prices, the Brent measure, surged 2.2 per cent on Thursday after the attacks. But with domestic constraints on Canadian energy export capacity to Asia, and international competition from new exporters such as the U.S., Canada is not positioned to take advantage of any new demand.
Canada likely to remain on the sidelines . . .
While details of the attack remain sketchy, an Iranian attack on a Japanese ship would be a brazen move by Iran’s government given the timing coincided with a diplomatic visit by PM Abe to Iran. To date, Abe has focused on condemning the act itself, “no matter who attacked.” His position reflects the challenges middle powers face in terms of fact finding and verification on some of the region’s most contentious security disputes, a lesson that will not be lost on Canada as it seeks to navigate its own choppy political waters in Asia and beyond.
- Channel News Asia: Tankers ablaze in suspected attacks near Gulf oil chokepoint
- The Straits Times: Asian Insider June 14: Oil tanker attacks raise alarm in Asia over oil flows