Indian president Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Madagascar in March was a sign of the growing importance of strategic islands in the Indian Ocean region. The visit—the first ever by an Indian head of state—underlines both Madagascar’s strategic location in the southwest Indian Ocean and Delhi’s historical disregard toward island nations, a misstep that the foreign office has begun correcting only recently.
Over the last five years, many volumes have been written about the South China Sea. But perhaps the most potentially explosive situation in maritime Asia lies to the north, in the East China Sea.
On March 6, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a landmark treaty delimiting their maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea. Much of the media has presented the agreement as resolving the long-running disputes between Australia and Timor-Leste over maritime boundaries and resources. This is inaccurate, largely because the most difficult issue—the development of Greater Sunrise—remains ongoing.
Despite several meetings on joint development in the South China Sea, substantive talks between Philippine and Chinese officials have not taken place, and nearly two years later both parties are still in the exploratory stage.
Against the backdrop of decreased tensions following the 2016 arbitral tribunal award, the Taiwanese government has adjusted its South China Sea policy and tried to strike a cautious balance with fellow claimants.
An Indonesian government regulation passed with little fanfare in early 2018 may pave the way for a new air defense identification zone in Southeast Asia.
The reestablishment of the Quad in 2017 points to tectonic shifts in the geopolitics of Asia and in the foreign policies of the members of the original Quad.
China’s activities in the Indian Ocean have attracted a great deal of interest in recent years. There is no doubt that Chinese engagement is changing regional security dynamics in the current peacetime environment.
China’s leaders have mapped out an ambitious plan, the Maritime Silk Road Initiative, to establish three “blue economic passages” that will connect Beijing with economic hubs around the world. It is the maritime dimension of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, which could include $1–4 trillion in new roads, railways, ports, and other infrastructure.
Ever since Iran hired Indian firms to develop a seaport in the Chabahar city in the 1990s, India has been central to the Chabahar project.
In China’s grand strategy, Gwadar is an important foothold that is part of its String of Pearls strategy for the Indo-Pacific.
Hambantota port was intended to transform a small fishing town into a major shipping hub. In pursuit of that dream, Sri Lanka relied on Chinese financing. But Sri Lanka could not repay those loans, and in 2017, it agreed to give China a controlling equity stake in the port and a 99-year lease for operating it.
Kyaukpyu is of considerable strategic and economic value for China as it seeks to speed development of Yunnan and its other inland provinces. That value is centered on the development of a deep-water port and the construction of accompanying road and rail links to supplement the pipelines already running to Kunming.
The visit of the Carl Vinson was part of a growing trend of foreign naval vessels that have visited Vietnamese ports in recent years.
Common misperceptions of China’s air defense identification zone shared by many Western scholars and policymakers have received insufficient attention in the media, and if left unclarified could worsen distrust between governments and escalate tensions in the East China Sea.
If the Quad’s time has finally come, what purpose would cooperation among these four countries serve in the contemporary strategic environment?
While the salience of conflict for the sake of gaining territory may be declining, the importance of status as a potential driver of conflict—especially in Asia—may be increasing.
if the United States seriously wants to stop Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, it will have to engage in some costly tit-for-tat actions.
Under Duterte’s watch, ASEAN has lost a crucial opportunity to hold China to account. More worryingly, it has undermined the regional body’s centrality in addressing one of the most vexing and potentially explosive flashpoints in the 21st century.
CSIS experts Zack Cooper and Bonnie Glaser join AMTI director Gregory Poling to discuss the South China Sea at the start of 2018, including whether the Trump administration has an effective strategy on the issue, what China hopes to achieve in the disputed waters, and recommendations for the year ahead.
In light of the upward trajectory of the relationship between Manila and Tokyo, one might ask what a strategic partnership is, and what diplomatic advantages it confers. How does the Philippines-Japan strategic partnership figure in Duterte’s quest for an independent foreign policy? And how does the strategic partnership meet the shared interests of Manila and Tokyo?
In Yokota, Japan, President Trump spoke of seeking “peace and stability for the nations of the world,” including “a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” and lauded America’s ally Japan. Yet in his celebration of full-spectrum US military might, power upstaged purpose.
The Chinese military on August 1 formally opened its first overseas military base in Doraleh, Djibouti. According to the Chinese government, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) base in Djibouti will be used to support peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in Africa and the Middle East. However, there are strong indications that the base will also be […]
In this podcast, Professor Andrew Erickson discusses the origin and role of China’s maritime militia with host Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and director of the China Power Project at CSIS.
Although the military enjoys a privileged position in Vietnam’s political system, force modernization has not been a priority in government spending for most of the last three decades.
Despite the complexities of the regional security environment and the sensitivities of the relationship between two former adversaries, it is fair to say that the current state of military partnership between the United States and Vietnam is at its highest point since diplomatic normalization in 1995. This strategic military rapprochement, however, has gone largely unnoticed by the Vietnamese public, as they worry more about a United States less engaged in the Asia Pacific under the Donald Trump administration.
Philippine strategic culture has combined a reliance on the United States for external defense and a focus on internal threats, especially the Muslim and Communist insurgents on the southern island of Mindanao. This has resulted in a chronic neglect of the navy, air force, and coast guard.
The ascent of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has come as a major political shock to Vietnam and its position in the South China Sea disputes.
Aware that their navy and air force are underequipped, Malaysia’s military planners have developed several plans to upgrade old platforms and acquire new ones in recent years. However, military spending has never been prioritized in the government budget, and most plans for force modernization have been repeatedly delayed or cancelled.
Since the South China Sea reemerged around 2008 as a hotspot of simmering conflict, conventional wisdom has held that tension in the area is driving an arms race among its littoral countries. A closer look at the facts and trends suggests otherwise.