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…

China’s Case for Claiming South China Sea Demolished

China’s Case for Claiming South China Sea DemolishedAt last, on July 12, the Law of the Sea Tribunal has ruled on the Philippine challenge to Chinese pretensions to maritime rights over an approximately two million km² ocean expanse stretching south from Hainan Island to Singapore.  It is an amazing ruling, far broader in scope than China's South Sea neighbors and their friends…

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…

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…

Expect More China-Taiwan Tensions

Expect More China-Taiwan TensionsWith newly-sworn Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wriggling around a Beijing demand that she verbally acknowledge the “1992 Consensus,” a cryptic version of the One China principle agreed by her China-friendly Kuomintang predecessors, China is likely to wage a four-year campaign to convince the island of the folly of voting for the mainland-wary Democratic Progressive Party…

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.…

Brunei silenced on South China Sea claims

Brunei silenced on South China Sea claimsBrunei is an absolute monarchist, Islamic state of 420,000 people on the north coast of Borneo, wedged into the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Indonesia and Malaysia own 99 percent of Borneo, which is the third largest island in the world, located at the maritime center of Southeast Asia. It has become a key pawn in…