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Beijing’s South China Sea talks with Asean are worse off than it’s letting on, experts say

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South China Sea talksChina may be sounding optimistic notes over an early conclusion of its ongoing talks with Asean for a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea, but regional scholars of the row say they are far less buoyant that the accord is within reach.

Speaking in a webinar on Friday, the Southeast Asian researchers suggested instead that the talks’ suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic meant Beijing now lacked the use of the ongoing negotiations as a “pretext” for saying all was well in the sea dispute.

With recent stand-offs in the waters, as well as Southeast Asian claimants ramping up “lawfare” tactics of citing international maritime law to press their respective cases – much to Beijing’s annoyance – an amicable resolution looks farther away than before, the analysts said.

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Russia in the South China Sea

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Russia in the South China SeaIt’s a long way from Moscow, but for Russia, the contested waters of South China Sea might provide opportunities for scientific collaboration, legitimacy, and major diplomatic gains, Olga Krasnyak writes.

The South China Sea issue does not receive a lot of attention in Russian public discourse. However, downplaying Russia’s potential interest in Asia and the Pacific would be shortsighted, not only for China, but for other regional powers like Australia.

Despite Russia’s distance from the hot-spot, there are opportunities for the country to use a science diplomacy approach in the South China Sea to strengthen its geopolitical stance.

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Where Trump and Biden Stand on Foreign Policy

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Where Trump and Biden Stand on Foreign PolicyWASHINGTON—President Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden have profound differences in key areas of U.S. foreign policy, but hold similar views about some major goals, including limiting troop deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump has aimed to highlight his foreign-policy credentials in the closing weeks of the 2020 campaign. In quick order, he has overseen peace agreements between Israel and two Gulf Arab states; helped launch Afghan peace talks; reduced troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; and pushed for a framework arms-control agreement with Russia.

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In a US-China war, whose side is Southeast Asia on?

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In a USChina war whose side is Southeast Asia onAcross Southeast Asia, scenario planning exercises by analysts and policymakers preparing for the unthinkable – a military clash between the world’s two largest economies in their backyard – has taken on added significance in recent weeks.

Tensions between the US and China, already fraught over trade, technology and the South China Sea, deepened as Beijing protested against Washington’s ties to Taipei and conducted military activities close to the self-ruled island last week.

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Is the South China Sea hot or cool?

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Indonesia calls for parties to exercise self-restraint in South China Sea amid pandemicIs the situation in the South China Sea normal and stable, as claimed time and again by certain in an attempt to distract the international community from attention and concern? Is that true?

What actually happens is quite opposite.

In the field, tension and conflict risks are constantly increasing, with China's rapid militarization and expassion of military presence on an unprecedented scale, using its force to elarge the scope and intensity of its control over most of the South China Sea area, intensifying pressure on and deterring lawful activities of coastal states, bringing drilling rigs and survey ships for exploration and other illegal activities as well as using coast guard vessels to cover their ships’ operations in other countries' exclusive economic zones and continental shelves, unilaterally imposing fishing bans in the South China Sea, and attacking by force other countries' fishing vessels operating normally and lawfully at sea. Military exercises, including live-fire drills, have been intensified with an increasing scale; confrontation between major powers is growing ever more fierce.

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U.S., China trade barbs over S. China Sea, Hong Kong

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US China trade barbs over S China Sea Hong KongThe United States traded barbs with China over Beijing's maritime claims in the South China Sea while also raising concerns over tighter controls in Hong Kong as foreign ministers took part in a regional meeting on Wednesday.

During a virtual ministerial meeting of the 18-member East Asia Summit, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it regards Beijing's expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, which are contested by several Southeast Asian nations, as unlawful, according to the State Department.

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US deliberately stirs up trouble in S. China Sea: Chinese vice FM

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US deliberately stirs up trouble in S. China Sea Chinese vice FMChinese vice foreign minister Luo Zhaohui said the US deliberately stirred up trouble in the South China Sea and stands in the way of peace and stability in regions, calling on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work together with China to safeguard regional peace, stability and promote free trade and multilateralism.

Luo made the remarks at a meeting Friday in Beijing with envoys of the 10 members of ASEAN to China, according to an article posted on the website of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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China’s increased aggression in the South China Sea

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Chinas increased aggression in the South China SeaAccording to the US’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia – Reed Werner, since mid-March 2020 when the US’ aircraft carrier returned to Guam, China’s fighter jets have “harassed” the US’ reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea for at least nine times. At sea, an escort vessel from China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier fleet operated in an “unsafe and unprofessional way” near the US’ destroyer USS Mustin in the South China Sea in April 2020. The abovementioned activities have concerned states in the region and beyond, especially when the Sino-US relations still remain tense due to a wide range of issues from economic, trade, to cyber security and pandemic and neither China nor US showed any sign of decreasing their military presence in the South China Sea.

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Philippines pushes deals with Chinese company blacklisted by US

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Philippines pushes deals with Chinese company blacklisted by USMANILA -- The Philippines will push ahead with infrastructure projects backed by Chinese companies that have been blacklisted by the U.S., President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said on Tuesday.

State-owned China Communications Construction Company has faced fresh scrutiny in the Philippines after its subsidiaries were among those sanctioned by Washington last week for their role in Beijing's reclamation and militarization of disputed areas of the South China Sea.

A CCCC consortium, which includes CCCC Dredging Group, one of the companies that have been sanctioned, is teaming up with MacroAsia, controlled by Philippine billionaire Lucio Tan, for a $10 billion Sangley airport project in the province of Cavite, south of Manila.

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How Will Trump or Biden End the Trade War With China?

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How Will Trump or Biden End the Trade War With ChinaAmid a global pandemic and a summer of natural disasters and social unrest in the United States, it might be easy to forget that the country is still locked in a destructive trade war with China. Not that China itself is far from the minds of the two major U.S. presidential candidates, especially President Donald Trump. During last week’s Republican National Convention, Trump not surprisingly went full throttle on bashing China in his acceptance speech, going as far to say that “China would own the United States” if his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, won the election.

And Trump has recently backed up his words with action: He issued an executive order banning TikTok and slapped sanctions on companies helping China build artificial islands in the contested South China Sea. But the trade war itself has received scant attention, which is unfortunate since the tariffs and other trade restrictions have arguably done more direct damage to Americans than Chinese video-sharing apps and man-made islands thousands of miles away.

So the big question is how Trump or Biden will end it. Or even if they can.

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Why Trump no longer talks about the trade deficit with China

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Why Trump no longer talks about the trade deficit with ChinaAs Donald Trump gears up for the final stretch of the presidential race following the Republican convention, a glaring contrast with his 2016 campaign is his silence on the US trade deficit with China.

Mr Trump took aim at China during the convention over everything from its responsibility for coronavirus to its human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang. But as the November election grows closer, the president has become conspicuously quiet on trade.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump pledged to get much tougher on trade with China, which he accused of “raping” the US. After launching a trade war with Beijing, he secured a limited trade deal in January. But that agreement looks wobbly and the trade deficit remains stubbornly high.

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