The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China have been engaged in discussions on a potential code of conduct (COC) to manage the South China Sea maritime and territorial disputes for over two decades. Finding mutually-agreeable compromises will be difficult but not impossible if all sides are committed to the project.
The hard facts of Indonesia’s archipelagic geography provide both opportunity and challenges in the maritime domain, but for the most part, the country has struggled to adequately patrol and secure its waters.
The shocking return to power of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad earlier this year seems to have brought an end to Malaysia’s traditionally deferential, if not subservient, relations with China.
Philippine media recently reported two significant developments that imply the Philippine Navy (PN) is on the verge of a major technological leap.
After two decades of talks, skepticism about the development of a South China Sea Code of Conduct (COC) is well-deserved, but it is also important to acknowledge progress when it happens. The agreement on a single draft negotiating text, revealed ahead of the ASEAN–China Post Ministerial Meeting on August 2, 2018, is an important step in the process that deserves recognition.
In this podcast, we review the Asia-related sections of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and explore Congress’s role in framing U.S. policy toward Asia. Returning to the podcast to unpack these topics are Dr. Michael Green, Japan Chair and Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS, and Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and fellow with Southeast Asia Program at CSIS.
Critics who slam the Duterte government for its failure to assert the 2016 arbitral ruling do not realize that that assertion is happening, albeit in a different manner than expected.
Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines is seen by many as China’s newest best friend. Behind his bluster, however, alternative centers of powers have been contesting the push for a pro-China foreign policy.
South Asian states must come to terms with the fact that the seas’ ability to absorb anthropogenic activities is at an end.
Despite the obvious difficulties, it is possible for claimants to cooperate on oil and gas development in the South China Sea in a manner that would be both equitable and consistent with international law as well as the laws of all involved parties.
The long and bumpy process of consultations on a code of conduct (COC) between China and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has gained some momentum since the July 2016 South China Sea arbitration award. China communicated its willingness to make some progress by adopting a framework for the COC last […]
President Rodrigo Duterte recently decided to bankroll the second phase of the 15-year Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program. The plan for the program involves three five-year phases, or “horizons.” The first horizon, which began in 2013 and ended in 2017, involved purchases of military hardware mainly for internal security challenges, though it […]
This piece suggests defining the Quad as (1) a balancing measure for all four to enhance the U.S.-led alliance system and eventually better engage with China, and (2) a guiding forum for consulting and implementing policies to maintain the regional order based on shared values and actions.
The Vietnam People’s Air Force finally retired the last of its half-century-old MiG-21 fighter squadrons in 2015, but their retirement raises serious questions about the future of the VPAF and its warfighting doctrine.
The 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue on 1-3 June in Singapore might as well have been renamed the “Indo-Pacific Dialogue.” In the plenaries and the panels, in the Q&As, corridors, and coffee breaks, not even the imminent Trump-Kim summit hosted by Singapore could compete with the “Indo-Pacific” among the attendees.
The latest edition of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, which brought together the world’s leading defense officials and security experts June 1 through 3, marked the formal inauguration of the “Indo-Pacific” era.
If the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy only serves as a facet of Sino-U.S. competition, the United States will have to overcome China’s advantages in geographic distance, economic wherewithal, and policy continuity. If it serves as a strategy to cultivate agreed-upon norms and principles applied to all parties, big or small, then it may enjoy greater support. Whichever case, seven key issues merit careful consideration while they can have the greatest impact.
Maritime security in the Indian Ocean requires much more than ships, weapons, and sailors. Assets at sea and in the air must be integrated with significant land-based infrastructure. China appreciates this fact. Apparently, the United States and India either do not, or they lack the will or means to match the Chinese.
As China continues to expand its military presence in disputed areas of the South China Sea, Vietnam has sought to balance Beijing’s activities through a combination of deft defense diplomacy and sensible military modernization. On the latter point, analysts have spilled much ink in recent years assessing the Vietnam People’s Army’s (VPA) procurement or indigenous development of specific weapon systems. Yet comparatively little has been written on the thought process behind acquisition of these new capabilities, and whether Vietnam has a military doctrine or concept of operations in place to effectively guide their employment in future South China Sea conflicts.
To ask Taipei to accept the political risks of taking a position on the U-shaped line—especially one more in line with the legal positions of other South China Sea claimants than with those of China—without access to any of the mechanisms to manage the disputes is unfair.
The U.S.-Japan alliance needs to take urgent measures to ensure that its deterrent posture and defensive capabilities in the East China Sea remain intact in the years ahead. Zack Cooper offers suggestions on China's likeliest strategies and how U.S. and Japanese policymakers should face them.
Sri Lanka's proposed code of conduct for the Indian Ocean presents problems at many levels, but perhaps the deepest problem is that it is about regional geopolitics rather than human security threats.
The Philippines and China recently agreed to pursue joint development agreements on hydrocarbon deposits in the South China Sea, but before those agreements can come to fruition there are a number of hurdles and historical precedents to overcome.
While the trends in the East China Sea have been concerning, Japan and China have been able to avoid a major incident in the area over the last five years. Yet, with Chinese capabilities improving and the margin of the Japan-U.S. alliance’s supremacy narrowing, the likelihood of an incident is growing.
Although the East China Sea is increasingly contested, Japan and the United States are likely to find a far more challenging strategic situation in the years ahead.
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.