China Takes to the Blue Water

China Takes to the Blue WaterThe recent well-publicized venture by China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning outside of its familiar coastal waters into the western Pacific and off the coast of Taiwan, is a signal event in China’s ambition to field a true blue-water navy.  When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly…

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to China

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to ChinaChina’s gift for buying foreign political leaders has scored another triumph with the visit to Beijing of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ingratiating tone of remarks in China at least give the impression that Malaysia’s foreign policy has veered farther away from its traditional informal alliance with the US.  In the end that may…

China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

The Naming of Seas is a Practical Matter

The Naming of Seas is a Practical MatterTwo centuries or more of western domination of much of the world has not only redrawn the global political maps but in many cases determined place names. If that seems arcane, it is not. It was western powers that named the South China Sea, for instance. It is a name that China is now using…

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful Rise

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful RiseThere was a time when China tried hard to convince the world its rise is peaceful. That pretense was abandoned seven years ago when in the wake of Great Recession China thought its time had come to claim its place as controlling "all under heaven," or tianxia in Asia. Like all great powers in history, China's emergence…

Arms Race Threatened on India-China border

Arms Race Threatened on India-China borderNew Delhi's decision to deploy the BrahMos supersonic missile – the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, which can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound – in the disputed northeast state of Arunachal, has left its rival and neighbor fuming as big-power tensions flare between China and India.  Within days of the announcement by…

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over Islets

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over IsletsTokyo has delivered a humiliating public protest to China’s ambassador for the intrusion of a vast “fishing fleet” escorted by a dozen coast guard and other law-enforcement vessels in or near waters of the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Daioyus to the Chinese. Such protests are common in the ongoing cat and mouse game…

More Fake Soft Power for China

More Fake Soft Power for China“Asia-Pacific Institute of International Law.” Here surely is a weighty institution whose members include leading lawyers from around the Asia-Pacific region, from China to Canada, Melbourne to Manila ready to offer a forum for discussion of issues such as the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and its application in the region. Well,…

Hague Court Decision a Gift to South China Sea Nations

Hague Court Decision a Gift to South China Sea NationsThe other littoral states of the South China Sea owe a debt of gratitude to the Philippines for bringing its case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. More than just an indictment of China’s actions and rebuttal of its outlandish claims, the rulings are so sweeping that other countries can…

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China Sea

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China SeaIn his first cabinet meeting after taking his oath as president on June 30, Rodrigo Duterte slid into his most comfortable mode: rambling on about ways to cut red tape for the poor and setting up a 24-hour hotline for complaints that would directly come to his attention. But Duterte was upstaged by his foreign…