BienDong.Net

Australia should stay vigilant against China

BDN - In a joint press conference during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Australia on February 2, 2017, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seemed to hint that Australia might divert in its South China Sea policy since she has not mentioned the South China Sea issue and the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award.

Australia seems to show its closer relation with China through boosting economic cooperation, especially after US President Donald Trump announced the US’s withdrawal from TPP and the Philippines’ changes under the Rodrigo Duterte administration. However, Australia needs to stay vigilant because of China’s big ambition.

What Rodrigo Duterte Is Giving Up

There’s one international power that doesn’t seem particularly bothered by Duterte’s excesses. “The Chinese side fully understands and firmly supports the Duterte administration’s policy that [prioritizes] the fight against drug crimes,” said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua in a speech last month.

He went on to express his satisfaction at the “friendly interactions’ between the two countries since the new president began his term, predicting that the sun “will shine beautifully on the new chapter of bilateral relations.” [READ MORE]

Beijing’s Opening Bargain with Manila

Nothing has been finalized at this point, but the story offers a glimpse into Chinese thinking. A minor concession on fishing access for Filipino fishermen may be just enough for Duterte to save face at home.

The volatile Philippine president has shown little interest in rallying diplomatic pressure against Beijing’s South China Sea claims, but in the face of domestic pressure, he has promised to raise the issue during his trip. [READ MORE]

Vietnam gives thumbs-up to U.S. regional role as pivot stumbles

Vietnam supports U.S. "intervention" in the Asia-Pacific if it helps keep peace and stability, the defense ministry said, in a timely endorsement of a continued U.S. presence amid uncertainty over Washington's faltering "pivot".

Vice defense minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, met on Monday with Cara Abercrombie, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and told her Vietnam backed a positive U.S. role. [READ MORE]

A toned-down Duterte takes the show from the Philippines to Beijing

 

 

 

BEIJING — Here is a word rarely used to describe Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte: soft.

He is famous for lighting rhetorical fireworks where a single match might suffice. He used a slang term that translates as “son of a whore” while blasting President Obama. He offered the European Union an unequivocal (and unprintable) “f‑‑‑ you.” [READ MORE]

 

 

 

What’s wrong with the United States’ Southeast Asian allies?

The Philippines and Thailand are not acting like US treaty allies are supposed to. While the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte seems somewhat of an outlier, his anti-Americanism is only the latest instalment of instability in the US–Philippines relationship.

Thai–US relations have also suffered since the 2014 military coup and Thailand now appears to be seeking closer military ties with China. [READ MORE]

In China, Rodrigo Duterte and Philippines May ‘Pivot’ Away From U.S.

BEIJING — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, one of America’s closest allies in Asia, has said he wants to reduce American military influence in his country and build closer ties with China.

But he has stopped short of offering to do what China would like most: scrapping an accord that gives the United States access to five military bases in the Philippines. [READ MORE]

Political scientist Richard Javad Heydarian on Rodrigo Duterte, US-bashing, and the South China Sea

Four years ago, China seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in an act of aggression that provoked protests by Filipinos in cities around the world. A large coral atoll with a reef-rimmed lagoon, Scarborough Shoal lies about 120 nautical miles (222 km, 138 miles) from the Philippine coast.

China could create a “strategic triangle” for controlling the South China Sea by building an artificial island and military base there, and the Philippine’s new president, Rodrigo Duterte, seems willing to essentially let China have it (formally giving Beijing sovereignty could be grounds for his impeachment). [READ MORE]

Duterte's China visit could move regional goalposts

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Oct. 19, the two men will have the chance to reshape the future politics of Southeast Asia.

If China plays its cards right it could disable the US-Philippines alliance, fracture what is left of unity among the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and knock down another domino in its quest for regional hegemony. [READ MORE]

A Vietnam ‘Base’ for Russia?

Last week, a senior Russian defense official made headlines when he was reported as indicating that Moscow was considering plans to reopen key bases it had during the Cold War, including in Vietnam and Cuba.

In the early 2000s, Russia had scaled back its military presence globally, eventually closing bases at the Lourdes signal intelligence station in Cuba and Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay naval base, a deep-water harbor in central Vietnam along the South China Sea. [READ MORE]

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