Country-level pragmatic calculations may contribute to more peaceful relations among claimant states, but risk driving ASEAN into total irrelevance as China shapes the regional agenda on its own terms.
Backers of the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025 have called for cooperation between it and China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, but the shift in geopolitical calculations resulting from such a partnership could cost ASEAN more than it bargained for.
Once celebrated as a model multilateral organization and an agent of positive regional change, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is in disarray. On July 12, a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued a judgment on the South China Sea that is widely seen as a victory for ASEAN […]
The Philippines’ newly minted president couldn’t have asked for a more high-profile diplomatic debut when he attended this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which saw the participation of the leaders from across the Asia Pacific, including the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and India, along with the secretary-general of the United Nations. […]
Following the U.S.-ASEAN leaders’ summit tensions rise, testing international rules and norms
China may be gaining the strategic upper-hand in the ongoing scramble in the South China Sea thanks to its newly-built artificial islands, but it is facing increasing backlash in the region. Neighboring states as well as external powers have stepped up their diplomatic pressure on Beijing, while coordinating their efforts at safeguarding freedom of […]
At regional meetings in Kuala Lumpur this week, China attempted to reassure regional nations of its peaceful intentions and deflect attention from its destabilizing activities in the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea. Speaking to reporters, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing had halted dredging sand to build artificial islands. “China […]
In 2002, ASEAN and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) that promised to “enhance favourable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution of differences and disputes among countries concerned.” Unfortunately, thirteen years on, the claimant countries are no closer to a solution for any of the […]
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s address at this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue was generally well received by conference attendees and Asia-security watchers. A few critics have argued that Carter was “just talk.” What none have noted, however, is the fact that the Secretary’s remarks were the latest installation in a series of moves by the administration […]
China is far from a monolithic power. Its rapid ascent has transformed it into both a centripetal force of integration as well as a centrifugal force of fragmentation. Earlier this year, China managed to pull off a major strategic coup against the United States (U.S.) by astutely convincing almost all relevant economies in Asia and […]
As delegates assemble for the 14th annual Asia Security Summit, better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, regional tensions are running high over China’s island building in the South China Sea. As the weekend summit gets under way, here are the issues to watch. Stormy Seas and Skies: In the last several months, the region and […]
Highlights from Shangri-la Dialogue 2014. Video credit: IISS. The 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue kicks off on Friday, May 29, in Singapore and runs through the weekend. The defense summit will feature a keynote speech by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and plenary remarks by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Japanese Minister of Defense Gen […]
Satellite imagery of the South China Sea has established that over the previous twelve months, China has expanded its presence there by up to 1500 acres. The Chinese have been actively reclaiming land at the following reefs: Cuarteron, Fiery Cross, Gaven, Hughes, Subi, and the Union reefs (Johnson South and Johnson North reefs). One perspective […]
China’s expansive and accelerated construction activities in the South China Sea have elicited growing criticism from across the region and beyond. While some countries, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, are primarily worried over the impact of China’s reclamation activities on their maritime claims in the area, other countries, from Singapore to Japan and the United […]
When the Philippines announced its intent in January 2013 to file a case against China at a tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, many ASEAN countries remained silent or even worried out loud that Manila was “rolling the dice” and would be the subject of Beijing’s wrath. The mood in Southeast Asia has changed. […]