Developments in the international affairs of Southeast Asia are generating considerable uncertainty and doubt among regional players, including Vietnam. Seeking a delicate balance between great powers, and among other regional states, is a necessity for Hanoi to keep Vietnam’s national interests and relationships with other countries undamaged.
Power differentials between states affect how they view and respond to the South China Sea disputes. Small powers largely see them as a clash of unilateral territorial and maritime claims over all or part of the semi-enclosed sea, whereas big powers frame them in a more strategic manner – a contest for control over a critical international waterway. Small powers focus on immediate and direct concerns like resource access, whereas big powers stress universal freedoms of navigation and overflight. Lumping claims and freedoms together muddles and complicates the resolution of South China Sea disputes. Disaggregating them, however, may allow for opportunities to tackle part of the dispute separately.
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 […]
On August 20, The Department of Defense released its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy. Mandated by Section 1259 of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, the report outlines DOD’s strategy for maritime security in the region. On August 21, Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear briefed the press on the new document. Team AMTI commends […]
When Japan surrendered 70 years ago this month, the United States stood supreme in the Pacific. Only the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy had surface combatants that could roam freely from the Indian Ocean to the East China Sea and these remained a fraction of the massive “Big Blue Fleet” the U.S. Navy had […]
China has opted not to send its Defense Minister to the 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue, as in past years. Instead, Beijing’s representative will be Admiral Sun Jianguo. Who is he and what should we expect from his attendance? Read on to find out! Who is he? Admiral Sun Jianguo of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy […]
The military services responsible for American seapower (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard) recently released their new maritime strategy, entitled “Forward, Engaged, Ready: A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.” The reviews thus far have been positive, with most analysts praising the specificity of the document, as compared to its 2007 predecessor, as well as its […]
China’s various maritime actors are increasingly being coordinated and directed by senior policymakers as part of a larger strategy aimed at protecting China’s sovereignty and maritime rights. The first signs of strengthened coordination and supervision were evident as early as mid-2012, when Chinese maritime vessels and Chinese fishing boats—with People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships […]
The year 2015 provides the Obama administration with new opportunities in Southeast Asia to reinforce and bolster the rebalance to Asia. Myanmar In Myanmar, the United States should expand its support and training efforts to build political parties, strengthen the parliament, and prepare for monitoring activities ahead of the country’s 2015 elections to ensure they […]
There is robust support for the pivot to Asia in the United States and the region, but there are questions about the goal of the strategy and the resources available. U.S. agencies have made parallel efforts to expand engagement in Asia, but there is no unifying strategic plan that aligns these efforts to national goals. […]
Where China is concerned, successful implementation of the rebalance hinges upon a recognition in both capitals that neither country can hope to organize the future order in East Asia without the other. Chinese and U.S. leaderships say they subscribe to this axiom, but their respective behavior suggests that both sides seem reluctant to truly eschew […]
In this last quarter of the Obama administration, U.S. leaders have a critical opportunity to make progress on a host of policies vital to strengthening the U.S. position in Asia. While the Trans-Pacific Partnership will rightfully dominate the domestic debate in early 2015, an equally important debate is occurring in the halls of the Pentagon […]
Asian maritime security issues will continue to be topical in Washington in 2015 and there will be a lot of D.C. chatter about events in the Indo-Pacific region. To make a difference and to produce favorable outcomes for the United States, however, some heavy lifting must take place in Washington. The most important maritime activity […]
In an effort to strengthen China’s regional leadership role and promote its new Asian security concept, China’s military convened the fifth Xiangshan Forum, November 20-22. Previously a venue held in alternate years for foreign scholars and the PLA to conduct exchanges on international security issues, this year’s conference was upgraded to an annual Track 1.5 […]
Most think of maritime Asia in the context of the Western Pacific littoral, the long swath of near shore waters that run from the Russian Pacific coast to Southeast Asia. Or, that maritime Asia is defined by the competing claims in the East and South China Seas and the rise of the Chinese Navy. Maritime […]
Five years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that eminent historians and political scientists would draw analogies between territorial issues in the East and South China Seas, and the Balkans on the eve of the First World War. Yet in the very recent past, maritime claims, resource competition, and contentious international arbitration in the […]