Making the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) more than a buzzword, on 15 November 2018, leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States met on the sidelines of the 13th East Asian Summit in Singapore.
In October 2018, the MoU on the feasibility study of the Muse-Mandalay railway, a part of the USD 20 billion Sino-Myanmar railway, was signed. This led to the speculation that the canceled Sino-Myanmar railway might be resumed.
The US and China are increasingly confronting each other militarily in the South China Sea. The US is deploying new undersea drones in multiple sizes and diverse payloads. China’s use of drones in the East China Sea has already raised political hackles.
The Trump administration’s concept of the “Indo-Pacific” should be placed in the context of the main strategic aims of his administration: to preserve the world primacy of the US and to prevent a strong China from displacing the US in Asia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “Lagging behind on the military front is lethal to the security of the country. I have read a lot on China’s modern history, and it gives me great pain whenever I come across a time when we dropped back (in military building) and fell victim to invasions”.
A robust, binding code of conduct for the South China Sea has become a “holy grail” for analysts and decision makers alike. Many have tried to find it and failed. The Blueprint for a South China Sea Code of Conduct is likely to fail to gain wide acceptance too.
The Xiangshan Forum, one of East Asia’s premier security forums, is being held in Beijing from October 24 to 26, 2018. What has attracted the attention of international observers is Pyongyang sending a delegation led by two heavyweights.
The strategic move of restructuring China’s arm forces is aimed at building a joint battle system and strengthening joint command ensuring the People’s Liberation Army’s capability of “fighting and winning battles and effectively safeguarding China’s national security.”
The near-collision between the United States warship Decatur and a Chinese warship in September 2018 is only the most recent in a series of near misses between their warships and warplanes in and over the South China Sea.