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…

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…

Fish, Tourists New Pawns in China Battle Over Taiwan

Fish, Tourists New Pawns in China Battle Over TaiwanThere is growing suspicion in Taiwan that China is trying to use commercial pressures by cutting back on tourism and fish imports to force the country’s new President, Tsai Ing-wen into acknowledging that Taiwan is a part of China in her May 20 inaugural speech. The most visible target is Taiwanese-farmed milkfish, or Chanos chanos,…