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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 20 Sep 2018
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.
By Mark J. Valencia - 24 Aug 2018
The US should have a grand strategy for Asia and determine the role of the South China Sea in it. But what are the US goals in Asia and does it have a “grand strategy” to achieve them?
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.
A recent poll purports to show that there is a huge domestic opposition to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “soft” approach to China supposedly gathering steam.
The war of words and tit-for-tat provocative actions of China and the US regarding the South China Sea could spiral out of control. Thus, it is a good time for analysts and decision makers to step back and distinguish between hope (the possible) and reality (the probable).
Over the past few years, bashing China for its policy and actions in the South China Sea has become quite common in the US foreign policy community. More recently, the criticism has become ever more strident and dangerous.
In a recent posting in The Diplomat, Tuan N. Pham denies that realpolitik can triumph or has triumphed over moralpolitik and urges the US not to “back down” in the South China Sea.