Duterte’s Colorful Diplomatic Debut

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. […]

Sunnylands and America’s Pivot to ASEAN

  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 […]

Beijing’s Assurances Unpersuasive: A COC Can’t Wait

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 […]

A Fair and Effective Code of Conduct for the South China Sea

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 […]

In Defense of Facts in the South China Sea

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 […]

Showdown at Shangri-La: Confronting China’s Maritime Ambitions

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 […]

The South China Sea at Shangri-La 2015: A Primer

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 […]