The US and China have apparently reached a tacit agreement to disagree and to maintain a leaky status quo, a “new normal.” Not coincidentally, relations on this issue between the ASEAN claimants and between ASEAN and China are more or less at the same place.
Kim Jong-un’s visit was very strategically calculated. It had two purposes. The first was to bring China-North Korea relations back on track. The second was to seek China’s insurance and confirm China’s patron-state status.
There is a growing protest over Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to downplay the Philippines international arbitration victory over China regarding the South China Sea. Although many of his policy decisions are problematic, in this case his decision has merit.
In the wake of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pilgrimage to Washington, Australia is edging ever closer to publicly choosing between China and the US in its Asia security policy. It may well become reality and with the choice comes consequences.
Facilitated by under-the-radar low-tech boats, collusion with local corrupt officials, and integration with legal trade and activities, piracy in Southeast Asia remains a challenging problem. Multinational agencies are cooperating to counteract.
Gordon Chang wrote recently in the National Interest that China is “itching for a confrontation” in response to the January 17, 2018 innocent passage of the USS Hopper near Scarborough Shoal. James Holmes argued that China does not really want confrontation.
The US decision to cut its security aid to Pakistan brings nothing new into US-Pakistan bilateral dynamics. The US had already done that previously when it cut the Coalition Support Funds amounting to USD 900 million for the financial years 2015 and 2016.
Two recent publications by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for International and Security Studies condemn China’s policies and actions in the South China Sea while ignoring the similar transgressions of the others there.
The latest edition of the US Navy Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations is out. It is the first such revision in a decade — but it continues to convey to US Navy commanders controversial and unilateral interpretations of the international law of the sea.