Construction at Cambodia’s Ream Picks Up Pace

Chinese-funded construction continues to transform Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base at a rapid pace, with major land clearing, a new pier, and several new structures completed in the last three months. Twenty-eight acres of land, over 15 percent of Ream’s total land area, have been cleared in the center of the base since July. Construction is […]

Update: Dredged Pier Constructed at Ream

Construction at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base has accelerated in recent months, especially on the northern end of the facility which is suspected to be set aside for China’s use. A slew of new buildings have gone up alongside major land clearing and, in the latest development, the beginnings of a new pier. In mid-June, what […]

Update: China Continues to Transform Ream Naval Base

Construction continues at Ream Naval Base amid concerns that the new facilities are being built to facilitate a Chinese military presence in Cambodia. Over the course of August and September, three new buildings have gone up and a new road has been cleared, among other changes. Satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies and Planet Labs shows […]

South China Sea: Countering Hun Sen’s Cowboy Diplomacy

Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen kicked off his rotational chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with characteristic “cowboy diplomacy.” Just months after the regional organization disinvited Myanmar’s junta leaders from regional meetings due to the lack of progress on the implementation the “Five Point Consensus”, the Cambodia leader became the first head […]

Remote Control: Japan’s Evolving Senkakus Strategy

The East China Sea disputes had settled into an uneasy status quo over the last few years, but tensions persist. Recent events suggest that the risk of violence is again growing. China’s maritime forces deployed around the contested Senkaku Islands have become more capable and more determined. In response, Japan is upgrading its ability to […]

Realizing the Potential of Island Territories: A Perspective from Delhi

As countries in the Indo-Pacific continue to deepen maritime collaborations between friends, partners, and allies, the island territories in the region are well-positioned to offer tremendous support and strategic leverage to India and its partners. Island territories in particular facilitate a greater maritime presence, help generate a common picture for maritime domain awareness (MDA), and […]

Reading Between the Lines: The Next Spratly Legal Dispute

The steady pace of U.S. and now UK operations challenging China’s declared baselines around the Paracel Islands warrants just as much attention as other FONOPs, both because of the egregiousness of that claim and because of a fear that Beijing will soon declare similar baselines around the Spratlys.

China Quietly Upgrades a Remote Reef

Recent satellite imagery of Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands shows that China has installed a new platform at the largely untouched South China Sea feature. The development is interesting, given Bombay Reef’s strategic location and the possibility that the structure’s rapid deployment could be repeated in other parts of the South China Sea.

Vietnam Builds Up Its Remote Outposts

Reports suggest that Hanoi recently halted oil and gas drilling in Block 136-03 on Vanguard Bank in response to a Chinese threat of force against Vietnamese outposts in the area. That claim is impossible to verify, but the story highlights the vulnerability of Vietnam’s many smaller installations in and around the Spratly Islands. AMTI has […]

Can Ramos Break the Ice in Philippines-China Relations?

Consistent with his campaign promise, the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte has stepped up efforts to mend ties with China, despite the latter’s flagrant rejection of the Philippines’ recent law-fare victory at The Hague. Duterte has deputized no less than former president Fidel Ramos, who also dealt with Chinese maritime assertiveness in the mid-1990s, to […]

Remembering WWII in Maritime Asia

On August 15, 2015, the world observes the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific Theater. This edition of AMTI commemorates the conclusion of the conflict and its legacy for maritime Asia. Read special features on the strategic role that maritime Asia played for the victorious allies, including the […]

The Post-Hearing Reality in the South China Sea Arbitration Case

The Hague hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility of the South China Sea arbitration case has come to an end on July 13 after a weeklong process without China’s participation. The hearing has become a heated headline for medias, governments, and scholars for the past week. Questions include whether the Arbitral Tribunal will issue a decision […]

Terriclaims: The New Geopolitical Reality in the South China Sea

With revelations of China’s systematic and rapid reclamation or “island-building” of various features throughout the South China Sea, long-simmering dispute in the South China Sea seem closer to boiling over. Terriclaims, short for territorial reclamation, is a term that is useful for describing a nation’s reclamation activities when it seeks to preserve or expand territory […]

Blunting China’s Realpolitik Approach: Liberalism through UNCLOS Arbitration

The 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off between the Philippines and China was the proverbial tipping point caused by China’s pattern of protracted, aggressive actions against the Philippines that began two years earlier. In mid-2010, the Philippine government had observed an increased Chinese naval presence and activities in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), recorded reports of […]

Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security Challenges: An Evolving Tapestry

This article is part of Evolving Threats to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security, a series of analyses produced by experts convened by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Located at the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific, the Southeast Asian region incorporates some of the world’s most essential straits and sea lines of communication. The region also […]

Terrorism as an Evolving Threat to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security

This article is part of Evolving Threats to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security, a series of analyses produced by experts convened by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. How has the maritime terrorism threat evolved over the last 20 years? Twenty years ago, terrorist organizations such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), […]

(Almost) Everyone is Drilling Inside the Nine-Dash Line

China’s military, law enforcement, and militia engaged in regular standoffs between 2018 and 2021 with Southeast Asian neighbors over oil and gas exploration inside Beijing’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. By contrast, 2022 was comparatively quiet when it came to tensions over hydrocarbons, aside from one encounter involving the Philippines. But as […]

Illicit Maritime Drug Trafficking as an Evolving Threat to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security

This article is part of Evolving Threats to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Security, a series of analyses produced by experts convened by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. How has the illicit maritime drug trafficking threat evolved over the last 20 years? Maritime drug trafficking has transformed into a long-standing threat to maritime security in […]

Flooding the Zone: China Coast Guard Patrols in 2022

China’s coast guard presence in the South China Sea is more robust than ever. An analysis of automatic identification system (AIS) data from commercial provider MarineTraffic shows that the China Coast Guard (CCG) maintained near-daily patrols at key features across the South China Sea in 2022. Together with the ubiquitous presence of its maritime militia, […]