US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unprecedented four trips to North Korea in 2018. His mission for the fourth trip was quite clear — to sustain the momentum of the peace process started from the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.
The China-Japan Maritime and Airspace Liaison Mechanism, activated on June 8, 2018, is a crisis management mechanism established by the defense departments of both countries to prevent friction or conflict in their frontline forces of the sea and air.
An unfavorable outcome in the mid-term elections for Trump will likely be leveraged by the Kim regime to extract a maximum number of concessions from the US and stakeholders to pursue economic development and retain his strategic nuclear deterrent.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative recently released a “A Blueprint for Oil and Gas Production in the South China Sea.” It is an important contribution to thinking about interim solutions to these seemingly intractable disputes.
Vostok-18 is the largest military exercise hosted by Moscow since the 1980s. It involves a massive 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft joined by 3,200 soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army armed with 900 military equipment and 30 helicopters.
A US Navy Poseidon 8-A flew over or “near” four of China’s occupied features in the South China Sea. A radio voice identifying itself as “the Chinese military” requested the plane to “leave immediately and keep off to avoid any misunderstanding.”
At the ASEAN meetings, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated an indirect but obvious warning to China that Washington was committed to the rule of law in the South China Sea. He then announced a security aid package to Southeast Asia prioritizing maritime security.
In the run up to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ first visit to China from June 27-28, 2018, he said: “I want to go in without poisoning the well and do a lot of listening.” Well he certainly got an earful regarding the South China Sea.