Summer in the South China Sea—a hardened U.S. policy, extensive naval operations and a Twitter skirmish.
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Chinese aggression and a ubiquitous U.S. military are becoming the new normal for the pandemic’s “great power competition” in the Indo-Pacific.
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Winter has been a relatively quiet time in the South Pacific as policy priorities shifted in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, but the Philippines’s stated intent to depart the U.S. defense pact may destabilize the regional balance yet again.
Malaysia and Indonesia lawfare salvos against China, the first made-in-China aircraft carrier and a Japanese military strategy for the South China Sea.
After a summer of dramatic standoffs in the South China Sea, the past month has seen a return to diplomacy and negotiation in Southeast Asian relations.
China and Vietnam are poised for confrontation over oil drilling in the southwestern portion of the South China Sea. Vietnam alleges that a Chinese survey vessel, Haiyang Dizhi 8, has been conducting an oil and gas survey within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since July 2019.
From Sept. 2 to Sept. 6, the United States conducted its first-ever joint naval exercise with all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise (AUMX), co-led by the U.S. and Royal Thai navies, consisted of pre-sail activities in Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, as well as a sea phase in the South China Sea and other international waters around Southeast Asia.
A tense standoff in the waters southwest of Vietnam is about to enter its seventh week. Throughout May and June, Chinese Coast Guard vessels aggressively patrolled around Malaysian and Vietnamese oil drilling platforms.
Philippine and Chinese officials will launch a joint investigation into the at-sea collision that left 22 Filipino fishermen stranded in the South China Sea. On June 9—the official Philippines-China Friendship Day—a Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Philippine fishing vessel near Reed Bank (known in Tagalog as Recto Bank), northeast of the Spratly Islands, and reportedly fled after the collision. A Vietnamese fishing vessel later rescued the Filipino crew members who had been left in the water.