The Philippines is undertaking a government-sponsored marine scientific expedition to the Spratlys area. While billed as an advance in scientific knowledge, it may be perceived to be a soft assertion of sovereignty.
There is certainly no shortage of warmongering blaring from both China and the US regarding the South China Sea. Indeed, a recent public tit-for-tat illustrates both the danger of such public advocacy and of taking it seriously.
After China issued formal diplomatic protests to Quad members asking their intention, Australia withdrew from the Quad and meetings ceased. Indeed, the concept is more likely to go the way of the dodo than rise from its ashes like a phoenix.
Many had expected some form of peace deal to be inked at the end of the second Trump-Kim summit, but were disappointed when both leaders left without having lunch, sparking off worries that the breakdown was less than amicable.
A recent article in The National Interest posed the question “Are [US] Freedom of Navigation Operations in East Asia enough?” If FONOPs are to demonstrate non-acquiescence to what the US views as a violation of international law, they may be unnecessary.
The underlying cause of the South China Sea dispute between the US and China is about dominance in Asia-Pacific and maintenance of the current world order. One influential factor is the abundance of natural resources in the South China Sea.
A very distinguished unofficial “task force” of US-China experts has issued a rather alarming report regarding the China threat to US security overall and in the South China Sea in particular. The group suggests that the US pressures China to comply with “global norms”.
The second Trump-Kim summit is likely the last window of opportunity for real progress in the North Korea denuclearization drama and also in establishing the basis for an incremental normalization of relations between Washington and Pyongyang.