Being caught at the crossroad of great powers’ competition for sphere of influences, ASEAN has become a center of geo-political and geo-economic gravity of battleground. What is ASEAN’s outlook in the rising volatility and dynamism of the Indo-Pacific region?
Three US Senators have reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act. Its purpose is to “impose sanctions against Chinese entities that participate in Beijing’s attempts to assert its expansive maritime and territorial claims in these disputed regions.”
In response to the dissolution of the main opposition and the perceived deterioration of human rights and democracy in Cambodia, the United States and European Union have taken measures in an attempt to reverse Cambodia’s democratic backsliding.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. visited China between March 18-21, 2019. Shortly after the visit, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stated that the country has never shelved the South China Sea arbitration award.
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.
According to the Philippines, the presence of about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu between January and March 2019 violated its “sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction”. It filed a diplomatic protest to this effect.
Pakistan has been trying to draw foreign direct investment, and one of the important developments during Mahathir’s visit was the ground breaking ceremony for Malaysian car maker Proton’s assembly plant near Karachi in Sindh Province.
Two former Philippines officials filed a complaint with the ICC against China for “crimes against humanity”, alleging that President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Ambassador perpetrated environmental damage in the South China Sea.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is facing significant challenges to his legitimacy. He appears to be in a dilemma over how to deal with measures taken by the European Union to suspend the Kingdom’s preferential access to the EU Single Market.