South China Sea: China’s defence minister heads to Brunei, Philippines

South China Sea Chinas defence minister heads to Brunei Philippines after visits to Malaysia and IndonesiaChina’s defence minister Wei Fenghe on Tuesday met his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta, a day after visiting Malaysia’s leader in Kuala Lumpur, as Beijing seeks to balance US influence in the Asia-Pacific amid rising tensions in the South China Sea.

Wei is set to visit Brunei next, followed by the Philippines, according to sources. The visits come just ahead of a series of virtual Asean meetings running from Wednesday through Saturday, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expected to attend.

China’s Wang Yi slams US for being ‘biggest driver’ of South China Sea militarisation

Chinas Wang Yi slams US for being biggest driver of South China Sea militarisationA four-day series of virtual meetings among Asian foreign ministers kicked off with some diplomatic fireworks on Wednesday, as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi lashed out at the US for its hardened position on the South China Sea dispute.

Also participating in the meetings was Washington’s top diplomat Michael Pompeo, who said in a statement that he and several regional counterparts reasserted their concerns over China’s “aggressive actions” in the waters.

Does The U.S. ‘Have Hand’ Over China?

Does The US Have Hand Over ChinaJerry Seinfeld told us in the good ole 1990s, “We all want the hand. Hand is tough to get. You’ve got to get hand right from the opening.”

For those who never saw that episode of the Seinfeld sitcom, having upper hand can be very important in a relationship. It’s like being a buyer who can walk away, versus the seller who cannot.

The U.S. has the upper hand in its ongoing trade war with China.

How the US can win back Southeast Asia

How the US can win back Southeast AsiaIn a scene unimaginable to Americans 50 and perhaps even 30 years ago, on March 4 the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier docked at Da Nang, Vietnam – where the first American troops arrived in 1965 – to commemorate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam relations. The Roosevelt is the second U.S. aircraft carrier to dock in Vietnam since the war; the first, the USS Carl Vinson, did so in 2018.

Vietnam is usually wary of antagonizing China with such U.S. cooperation, but the Hanoi leadership seemingly decided it necessary to bring the Americans ashore at this moment, given China’s unrelenting militarization of the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s Tsai softens tone after China missile drill

Taiwans Tsai softens tone after China missile drillTaiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has made her first open appeal to Chinese leader Xi Jinping for “restraint and responsibility” as the Chinese military flexes its muscles in multiple war-games across the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East and South China Seas.

Tsai made subtle overtures to the mainland while speaking out against perceived as renewed coercion of the self-governed island in a recorded address at a webinar on Thursday hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a Canberra-based think tank.

“The risks of conflict require careful management by all the parties concerned. We expect and hope that Beijing will continue to exercise restraint, consistent with their obligations as a major regional power,” Tsai said.

U.S. Penalizes 24 Chinese Companies Over Role in South China Sea

US Penalizes 24 Chinese Companies Over Role in South China SeaWASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday added 24 Chinese companies to a government list that bans them from buying American products, citing their role in helping the Chinese military construct artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.

The Trump administration has penalized dozens of Chinese companies in previous months by adding them to the so-called entity list over national security concerns related to advanced technology and alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. But this is the first time that the administration has used the entity list in relation to China’s encroachment in the South China Sea, which stretches south of Hong Kong and borders the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries.

The South China Sea: Chairman's Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger position

The South China Sea Chairmans Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger positionAmidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Prime Minister and ASEAN leaders held the 36th ASEAN Summit online on June 26, 2020. In view of recent complicated developments in the South China Sea, the issue has become an important item discussed by ASEAN leaders and included in the Chairman's Statement expressing ASEAN leaders' concerns over China's activities taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to provoke aggression in the South China Sea.

Earlier, on June 24, at the 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Online Meeting, the Ministers also identified that ASEAN continues to face many complex security challenges, including increasing tension in the South China Sea.

Growing Strategic Rivalry in the Asia Pacific: Power Struggle of US and China in the South China Sea

Growing strategiesFor a period US has enjoyed its hegemony in the world in terms of politics, economic and military respectively. There was no other competitor but in 1980’s China started economic modifications by privatization of their industries, by which its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was increased. Till 2010, Chin was able to relocate other powers alike Europe and US. After China rise there was a relative decline of US hegemony and it is threat to US strategy “Pivot to Asia” in Asia Pacific. Now US has another competitor which is threat to its interests, resources as power is distributed now, no more on one pole. US claims that China has been pursuing its strategy, “String of Pearls”, to encircle US. Both states are orientated towards Asia Pacific as this region is full of resources and it is in their interests. Almost half of the world trade pass through Indian Ocean.

China has its Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) in IOR, which is coming from South China Sea by passing through Malacca strait and Indian Ocean get into Strait of Hormuz in Middle East. This SLOC is very crucial for China, as this is the only way through which China’s trade can pass through. Chinese economy is dependent on exports and if this SLOC block by US then in turn it will put catastrophic effect on China. Other challenges to this route in South China Sea (SCS) are; though whole ocean claim by China by 9 dash line but there are other states who claim over SCS and those states include; Philippine, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam respectively.

Southeast Asia stands to gain as US hardens South China Sea stance

Hardens South China SeaIt's taken four years, but the U.S. has finally thrown its weight behind a UN tribunal's sweeping rejection of Beijing's maritime claims in the South China Sea. Long overdue, Washington's support for the resource rights of Southeast Asia's littoral states is nonetheless positive.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China has intensified its relentless attempts to strengthen its claims to and control of the South China Sea. Among its transgressions, it has further encroached upon the exclusive economic zones, or EEZs, of Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, in direct contravention of the tribunal's ruling. Outmatched militarily, and wanting to maintain good relations with Beijing, these states have resisted Chinese incursions but within limits.

Duterte bans exercises with US in South China Sea

Duterte bansMANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has abruptly banned his naval forces from participating in joint maritime exercises with the United States and others in the South China Sea, a move which could undermine Washington’s bid to build an anti-China bulwark of like-minded allies in the contested waterway.

The controversial decision has provoked an uproar across the country and is seen as yet another Duterte concession to Beijing, significantly just weeks after top Filipino officials publicly criticized China and demanded it comply with a 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that favored the Philippines’ sea claims over China’s.

U.S., China Plan to Review Phase-One Trade Deal Mid-Month

US China plan to reviewSenior U.S. and Chinese officials are planning to assess the nations’ trade agreement this month against a backdrop of rising tensions between the countries, according to people briefed on the matter.

The discussion on the so-called phase-one deal, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, would take place on or around Aug. 15, six months after the agreement took effect, as directed in the text of the accord, the people said.

The White House declined to comment, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The planned talks were reported earlier Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal.

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