From August 2-8, 2017, ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners, including rivals China and the United States, will have a series of key security meetings in the Philippines. Casting a shadow upon these meetings will be recent developments regarding the South China Sea.
Joseph Bosco’s critique of China’s actions in the South China Sea, the Obama administration’s response and other issues raises the fundamental questions of the purpose and necessity of Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.
Cambodia has recently become much closer to China in almost every respect, leading some scholars to label Cambodia-China relations as a client-patron relationship. Meanwhile, Cambodia’s bilateral relations with the US have been getting worse.
Currently, Cambodia’s foreign policy faces significant challenges amid great power rivalry for regional influence. The high-level official defense visits between China and Cambodia highlight the strong cooperation which is widely seen to be at the expense of the US.
US FONOPs in the South China Sea are controversial. Their targeting of China’s “excessive” claims there, their resumption under President Donald Trump, and China’s increasingly strident objections raise questions regarding their intent, effectiveness and necessity.
The relations between Cambodia and Thailand can be appropriately labelled as a love-hate relationship. Given their current political, economic and diplomatic relations, both countries can enhance their generally troubled relationship through a reciprocal exchange of mutual respect.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly declared that he is taking a hardline stance in law enforcement after Islamic radicals torched building structures and took human hostages in the southern city of Marawi.
In 1986, Vietnam instituted economic reforms known as Doi Moi. In 1995, former US President Bill Clinton normalized relations with Vietnam. With US support, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization.
Some Cambodian scholars have commented that the country’s debt situation is manageable. However, one should take proactive measures to tackle the unpredictable backlash which could potentially derive from debt.
The most important area in which ASEAN can contribute is to bring about the ASEAN Community with cultures and historical backgrounds different from those of the European Union. The new global conditions present Southeast Asia with opportunities and challenges.