South China Sea
- Jared McKinney , PhD student in International Relations, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
Jan 05 , 2017Chinese sources have attempted to explain the seizure of a U.S. Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) with reference to maritime safety or protests over U.S. military reconnaissance in and around Chinese waters. China seized the drone to send a signal to President-elect Donald Trump that China wasn’t going to play around with any threats to the One China Principle, which Trump threatened by calling Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. However, there is no need for abrupt action right now that alienates president-elect Trump and his advisors. China’s economic and global clout gives it the influence it needs to preserve its “core” interests in international society, and China’s true power doesn’t derive from its ability to pull a U.S. UUV out of the water; it comes from its regional and global economic influence.
- Recent developments are highlighting how competition over shared water resources is a major contributory factor to the growing geopolitical discord in Asia. China’s “territorial grab” in the South China Sea has been accompanied by a quieter “freshwater grab” in transnational river basins. Reengineering trans-boundary water flows is integral to China’s strategy to employ power, control, influence, and fashion a strongly Sino-centric Asia. The upsurge of resource and territorial disputes has underscored the looming dangers. Various developments indeed are highlighting the linkage between water and peace.
- Steven Stashwick , independent writer and researcher
Dec 22 , 2016Given the apparently low intelligence value of the recently seized U.S. UUV, China may have intended the seizure primarily as a provocation or warning. Though the vessels involved held a low-risk of escalation, the legal precedent is more significant: last Thursday’s incident occurred approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, nowhere near sensitive Chinese military facilities, and in waters that China has not claimed any jurisdiction over.
- Sajjad Ashraf , Adjunct Professor, National University of Singapore
Dec 14 , 2016President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership kills the stillborn deal. For the countries of Southeast Asia who joined this U.S. led pact, it is a moment of reflection over their policy choices, making them seek accommodation with a more certain China rather than a wavering U.S.
- Zheng Yu , Professor, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Dec 09 , 2016For a country with nearly 1.4 billion people and a high dependence on foreign trade, the security of sea-lanes in the Western Pacific is first of all a matter of life and death for China. Obviously any attempt to seek hegemony by controlling those sea-lanes will only lead to regional turbulence, which in turn will endanger the security of China’s own international transport routes.
- Lucio Blanco Pitlo III , Lecturer, Chinese Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila University
Nov 16 , 2016Under Duterte’s administration, the Philippines are moving toward major policy shifts, particularly in regards to U.S. and China relations. China is an emerging outbound investor with a demonstrated financial, technological, and engineering capacity to accomplish major infrastructure projects, such as railways, which can have a transformative impact on Philippine economic development. The U.S. has become a quieter ally in the region, and other regional states have long been diversifying both their economic and security partners to spread risk and to avoid getting entangled in big power tussles. Duterte is following these initiatives now, as well.
- Wu Zurong , Research Fellow, China Foundation for Int'l Studies
Oct 20 , 2016When one side is trying its best to make use of a dispute to exert pressure on the other side, it becomes very difficult for either side to see and appreciate common interests. Recent history offers many examples of how shared goals, such as curbing greenhouse gases and cyber crime, can point the way to fruitful cooperation instead of conflict.
- Richard Javad Heydarian , author of "Asia's New Battlefield: US, China, and the Struggle for Western Pacific"
Oct 26 , 2016Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s emerging foreign policy is a cocktail of reckless rhetoric and shrewd strategic calculus. The Duterte administration has made it clear that bilateral relations with America are no longer as special as before; it is simply interested in having beneficial relations with all superpowers without any preferential treatment.
- Wang Yusheng , Executive Director, China Foundation for Int'l Studies
Oct 17 , 2016The rise and posture of the Philippines president is not an unpredictable eruption but the natural evolution of a changing global environment, and the result will be a more balanced and safer regional order.