How the Next US President Should Handle the South China Sea

Beijing will test the mettle of the next U.S. administration in the South China Sea. At a minimum, China is determined to use “passive assertiveness” to exercise greater control over this jugular of international commerce.

Fortifying artificial islands, executing law enforcement operations, and issuing diplomatic broadsides—while dangling economic incentives in an effort to dismantle multilateral cooperation—all appear to be efforts likely to continue and intensify in the immediate future. [READ MORE]

Playing by the rules in the South China Sea

CANBERRA – China’s adventurism in the South China Sea has prompted a change in Australian policymaking that merits wide international attention.

In making maintenance of a “rules-based global order” a core strategic priority, Australia’s new defense white paper adopts language not often found at the heart of national defense charters. [READ MORE]

Indian Navy Sends Amphibious Warfare Ship to ASEAN-led South China Sea Exercise

The Indian Navy has sent one of its three Shardul-class amphibious warfare ships to a maritime security and counter-terrorism exercise led by the Association for Southeast Nations (ASEAN) in the South China Sea.

INS Airavat arrived in Brunei to participate in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus Exercise on Maritime Security and Counter-terrorism. The exercise will last until May 9. [READ MORE]

Kishida stresses rule of law at S. China Sea in talks with Thai PM

BANGKOK (Kyodo) -- Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he agreed with Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha in Bangkok on the importance of resolving maritime security issues based on international law.

Kishida told reporters after meeting with Prayut that he pointed out it is important for the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to be united in responding to China's assertiveness in the South China Sea. [READ MORE]

Shamefare: How to Push Back Against China in the South China Sea

The rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — when the history books have enough perspective to quantify and objectively examine its sheer spectacle — will certainly declare it the speediest accumulation of national power in all of human history.

Whatever you think of its brutal authoritarian nature, Beijing has lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty, secured most of its land borders and built a mighty navy and anti-access capability that would give its greatest competitor, the United States, major challenges in any open, kinetic conflict. [READ MORE]


On April 4, the annual Balikatan joint military exercise began in the Philippines, with China’s state media lambasting it as an example of how Manila is “involving outsiders in the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.”

Balikatan, meaning shoulder-to-shoulder in Tagalog, started as an annual exercise between Philippine and U.S. armed forces focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations and conventional warfare. [READ MORE]


The rapid expansion of China’s political, economic, and military power in the Indo-Pacific presents both opportunities and challenges for the region. China’s rapid military build-up and assertive behavior could heighten tensions, especially over regional maritime disputes, and produce seriously adverse effects.

A policy of outright containment or isolation of China would be both inappropriate and counterproductive. [READ MORE]

US seeks China guarantee: Don’t militarize South China Sea

WASHINGTON/BEIJING—The Pentagon on Tuesday called on China to reaffirm it has no plans to deploy military aircraft in the Spratly Islands after Beijing used a military plane to evacuate sick workers from a new airstrip on an island it has created in the disputed South China Sea.

China’s defense ministry earlier dismissed US queries as to why China had used a military aircraft rather than a civilian one in Sunday’s evacuation from Kagitingan Reef (international name: Fiery Cross Reef). [READ MORE]

Do the Obama Administration and PACOM Disagree on the South China Sea?

Over the past week, the apparent conflict between PACOM and the Obama administration has generated a pool of digital ink big enough to build a Chinese island in.

The apparent disinterest of the Obama administration in entertaining the more aggressive navigation and flight operations proposed by PACOM commander Admiral Harry B. Harris has produced a great deal of criticism, even as both sides sought to quiet the conflict. [READ MORE]

Democrat Attacks South China Sea Policy, Republican Defends It

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's policy on the disputed South China Sea came under attack Tuesday from a fellow Democrat, and in an unusual twist, it was a Republican adversary who leapt to the administration's defense.

State Department officials were testifying before a House foreign affairs subcommittee, requesting an increase in their budget for East Asia and the Pacific, which Obama has made a strategic priority even as he has been sidetracked by turmoil in the Mideast. [READ MORE]

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