China South Sea Myth Backfires

China South Sea Myth BackfiresThe lengths to which China will go in creating myths about its claimed historical rights to the so-called (in English) South China Sea has been uncovered by an enterprising reporter for the BBC.  A few weeks ago supposed documentary proof  was widely reported in China’s media, and elsewhere,  from 600 years ago of Chinese fishermen’s…

China Finds a Friend in Australia

China Finds a Friend in AustraliaChinese influence in Australia is growing across a broad front, from political donations to Confucius Institute teachings in primary schools and university institutes funded from Beijing. These continuing efforts to spread soft power have found a new friend, with an announcement that content from Chinese newspapers and wires will run in Australian media and on…

What a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone Means for Southeast Asia

What a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone Means for Southeast AsiaSpeculation is growing that China will soon declare an Air Defense Identification Zone over parts or all of the South China Sea. It is the most likely response to an unfavorable ruling in the case challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea.  In anticipation of the verdict in the next few weeks, many are…

US Cruising Around the South China Sea: No Strategy

US Cruising Around the South China Sea: No StrategyAfter President Barack Obama’s visits to Vietnam and Japan, the wider Asia-Pacific region has to wonder what the future holds as a dangerous geostrategic rivalry develops between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. And considering the stakes, such worries are completely justified. The rise of China – and its campaign to “salami…

Two Minds on China

Two Minds on ChinaThe fictional Doctor John Doolittle traveled from England to Africa many years ago and discovered a rare creature called the pushmi-pullyu. It looked something like a gazelle, but with no tail. Instead it had two heads with horns, one at each end of its body. As one head slept, the other was awake and watching.…

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)As 2016 chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Laotian People’s Democratic Republic is leading the group toward political irrelevance. And that is doubtless how China, the hand controlling the Laotian glove puppet, would like to see it. The three minnows of ASEAN, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, have just undermined ASEAN’s efforts…

What if the US Tilt Doesn’t Work?

What if the US Tilt Doesn’t Work?The Obama administration has never plainly acknowledged that it faces a major challenge from China to the US-led order in Asia, and it has therefore never clearly explained its strategy to deal with that challenge. Because it has never been clearly explained, the strategy has never been carefully scrutinized to see whether it has a…

Return of the Arc of Democracy

Return of the Arc of DemocracyThe United States sends an aircraft battle group composed of the USS John C. Stennis with escorting destroyers and cruisers on a cruise into the South China Sea. Washington also dispatches B-2 stealth bombers to Guam and floats the idea of rotating heavy bombers to bases in northern Australia. Meanwhile, China has moved fighter aircraft…

China’s Giant Coast Guard Cutters Threat to Regional Neighbors

China’s Giant Coast Guard Cutters Threat to Regional NeighborsChina is currently commissioning two of the world’s largest coast guard cutters, ships that could alter the balance of power in the South and East China Seas (one ship is to be stationed in both seas). Known only by their hull numbers, in this case Haijing 2901 and Haijing 3901 (the first digit denotes which…

Double Blow for China in the South China Sea

Double Blow for China in the South China SeaChina has been put on the back foot with a unanimous decision by a UN-backed court in the Hague, Netherlands, that the court has jurisdiction over a case brought by the Philippines against Beijing’s repeated intrusions into what Manila claims are its waters. Given that the court ruled it has jurisdiction, it is considered likely…