Analysis

Read commentary and analysis from the top AMTI experts on maritime Asia.

Vietnam’s Legal Warfare Against China: Prospects and Challenges

Ahead of its much-anticipated chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, and amid a months-long naval showdown in the South China Sea, Vietnam has hinted at the possibility of legal warfare against China. Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Le Hoai Trung openly warned in early November that diplomacy isn’t the only tool […]

Indonesia as “Global Maritime Fulcrum”: A Post-Mortem Analysis

Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo first came into office in 2014 promising to turn the country into the “Global Maritime Fulcrum” (GMF)—a force between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Consisting of both domestic and foreign policy elements, many had hoped that the GMF would serve as Indonesia’s first actionable grand strategy in decades. Jokowi presented […]

Vietnam’s Need to Become a Proactive Middle Power

Vietnam’s Need to Become a Proactive Middle Power The most frequently-asked question from U.S. scholars and experts visiting Vietnam these days is, “What does Vietnam want from the United States when it comes to the South China Sea?” Given the rapid improvement of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, especially in defense and security cooperation, this question […]

Duterte’s Pivot to Russia

While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial China policy has understandably attracted considerable attention, few have taken his strategic pivot to Russia seriously enough. Instead, even some senior Filipino officials view burgeoning ties with Moscow as nothing but a reflection of Duterte’s personal fascination with Russia and his famed “bromance” with Vladimir Putin. But reaching out […]

Drivers and risks of China’s pressure on Vietnam

A concoction of regional and domestic factors is driving China’s increased pressure on Vietnam in the South China Sea, but this strategy entails serious risks for Beijing and, if overplayed, may backfire. While Hanoi’s options to respond are currently limited, they may gain potency as Beijing’s intimidation tactics galvanize support among ASEAN and the international […]

Should Vietnam Bring the South China Sea to the United Nations?

On September 12, Vietnam publicly denounced the provocative actions of Chinese vessels in Vietnamese waters for the seventh time since June, urging China to withdraw their ships. These statements have done little to deter China’s activities: the survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 continues to violate Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, while Chinese coastguard vessels such as […]

The ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise and Maritime Security

Geography dictates two divergent perspectives for ASEAN countries. The first belongs to the “continental” group and the second to the archipelagic nations, especially Indonesia and the Philippines, which constitute nearly half of ASEAN’s population, GDP, and land area, and over 80 percent of its exclusive economic zones. A maritime outlook could be expected to dominate […]