China’s announcement of plans to vastly expand its first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti follows a dramatic display in July, when two Chinese navy vessels steamed across the Indian Ocean towards the dock. On both counts, Asia’s pre-eminent power declared in no uncertain terms that it will sit on the sidelines no longer. China’s growing naval capacity is being put to use in its deepening involvement in the Horn of Africa’s security. For years, it has been testing, refining and growing its clout in turbulent South Sudan – an indication that its adherence to the long-standing policy of non-interference is becoming less doctrinaire.… Seguir leyendo »
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A ruling from The Hague next week on maritime disputes in the South China Sea is likely to exacerbate frictions between China and the U.S. Both would be better off respecting the central role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Expecting an unfavorable decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Philippines’ challenge to its extensive maritime claims, China has intensified its long-held policy of divide-and-rule to prevent ASEAN from closing ranks behind the legal process.
At a meeting in Kunming last month, Beijing managed to force the ten members of ASEAN to recall a jointly agreed statement which expressed “serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence” in the South China Sea.… Seguir leyendo »
On the surface, 2015 came to a close in a moment of relative tranquility after a turbulent year for China’s neighborhood. But the calm is misleading: the optics of regional diplomacy have become increasingly detached from the reality of the underlying tensions; this risks obscuring deepening fault lines.
Meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in October, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the bilateral relationship was “coming out of a stalemate” that began more than three years ago with a dispute over a group of rocky islands in the East China Sea. In November, the pace of summit diplomacy quickened. In a first visit by a Chinese president in 10 years, Xi Jinping traveled to Vietnam, whose relationship with China had plunged to a new low last year after Beijing deployed a drilling rig to waters both countries claim in the South China Sea.… Seguir leyendo »
While the increasing militarization of the South China Sea strains Asia-Pacific’s stability and security for the long term, the region’s humble fishing fleets pose more immediate, frequent, and less managed risks. If properly organized, however, those same fleets could offer one way to develop a culture of compromise and cooperation.
After running a controversial program of land reclamation in the South China Sea, China has recently started to build facilities on its artificial island outposts. Unsurprisingly, neighboring countries remain anxious about Beijing’s ultimate intentions, fearful especially of military threats.
But the more urgent concern – to China as much as to its Southeast Asian neighbors – is the likely emergence of even bolder maritime law enforcement and fishing fleets.… Seguir leyendo »