China and the Philippines plan to conduct talks and potentially sign an agreement regarding joint exploration for hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas in South China Sea. This agreement could cover portions of the South China Sea such as the Reed Bank that were under dispute in the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration.
Afghanistan and Pakistan lie at the center of U.S. interests and strategy within South Asia. The two countries are often referred to jointly as “AfPak,” emphasizing the extent to which events and policy on one side of the Durand Line influence events on the other. In particular, Pakistan’s porous northwestern border has become a haven for extremist insurgent groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, to whom Kabul has accused the Pakistani security forces of providing support--even as the United States relies on Islamabad’s help in battling those same insurgencies. Meanwhile to the southeast, tensions between Pakistan and India remain consistently high over the disputed Kashmir region, among other issues.