Last week, ASEAN and China took a step forward in their long quest for a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, while the People’s Liberation Army flexed its muscles on its 90th anniversary.
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Water Wars is a weekly roundup of the latest news, analysis, and opinions related to ongoing tensions in the South and East China Seas.
Just weeks after China’s roll-out of the world’s largest deep sea offshore platform, further developments in China’s exploration efforts affirm the country’s intent to explore the South China Sea’s oil and gas resources, and promise to add fuel to the region’s already simmering tensions.
The Trump administration this week dispatched Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to send an unequivocal message that China cannot use its military or economic might to coerce other South China Sea claimants.
This week, the United States navy carried out what may be its first Freedom of Navigation Exercises (FONOPs) in the South China Sea since President Trump took office, just a few days after a close encounter between American and Chinese aircraft.
This week, American officials sought to allay concerns that Washington is failing to address China’s activities in the South China Sea, which have showed no signs of slowing.
Last Friday, as Congress and the international community reacted to U.S. airstrikes in Syria, President Donald Trump completed his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Amid reports that construction on key Chinese-held reefs and islands is nearing completion, Chinese officials stated that the installations were for primarily civilian purposes, and suggested that coastal Asian nations should cooperate to realize their mutual interests.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes his inaugural trip to Asia, and the new administration announces the end of the "pivot to Asia."