Water Wars: Increased U.S. Focus on the Indo-Pacific

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. Speaking at the opening ceremony of AUMX at the Sattahip Naval Base in eastern Thailand, Rear Adm. Kenneth R. Whitesell said the multilateral…

China vs US: Ex-Navy SEAL warns US must act NOW to halt China’s military push | World | News

Admiral William McRaven headed up the Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, including the raid which saw a US operative assassinate the Al-Qaeda mastermind. Mr McRaven said the sheer pace of Chinese military evolution – which has included fortifications on numerous islands in the disputed South China Sea – needed to serve as a wake-up call for Washington – or as he put it, a “holy s***” moment. Referring to what he called the US’s “Sputnik moment” – by which he meant the tiny satellite launched by the…

Vietnam accuses China of sea encroachment

Vietnam accuses China of sea encroachment HO CHI MINH: Vietnam has accused Beijing of direct encroachment on the disputed Nansha Islands at the South China Sea due to its frequent guarding in the guise of conducting marine reserves research. But China’s Foreign Mi­nistry reiterated that China has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters nearing Vanguard Bank, thus rejecting Vietnam’s repeated claims that China’s research in the area has infringed on its sovereignty. The operation of the Chinese side in its jurisdiction in the South China…

The Philippines Is the Frontline in the U.S. Competition with China

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte was in China at the end of last month for his fifth trip there as president. He faces increasing domestic pressure for his conciliatory approach to China, so all eyes were on whether he would keep his promise to raise the 2016 UN tribunal ruling in the Philippines case against China, which had largely found in the Philippines’ favor. He did, but Chinese president Xi Jinping reiterated that Beijing did not recognize the award. This was a repeat of their interaction in April when Duterte broached…

Bringing up SCS arbitral ruling before UN futile — Palace

Bringing up SCS arbitral ruling before UN futile — Palace MANILA, Philippines — Bringing up the 2016 arbitral court ruling on the South China Sea before the United Nations General Assembly would be a “futile exercise,” as the international body has no power to enforce it, Malacañang said yesterday. “For one, it’s futile exercise. Why? Because UN has no enforcement force,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in reaction to former foreign affairs chief Albert del Rosario’s suggestion that the administration take advantage of the 74th regular session of the…

Marianas Variety – Youth group organizes successful West Philippine Sea forum

(NYMWPS) — In an effort to increase awareness among the Filipinos and the general public, most especially the youth, on the issue of the West Philippine Sea, the National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea in partnership with U.P. Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, organized the West Philippine Sea forum with the theme, “Defending Philippine Sovereign Rights in the West Philippine Sea.” It was held recently at the University of Philippines-College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City, says, Dr. Celia Lamkin, the Saipan- based NYMWPS founder,…

A Filipino battleground of the China-US cool war

What happens to small states on the front lines of a decaying international order? We can get a good sense by looking at the Philippines. The last three years have seen a depressing erosion of Manila’s relationship with the U.S., and a weakening of its resistance to Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea. It is tempting to blame this on the eccentricities and excesses of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has ostentatiously snubbed Washington while courting Beijing. But this realignment really reflects a deeper belief that U.S. influence is declining…

Cui bono: Joint oil drilling with China

Cui bono: Joint oil drilling with China KATRINA QUIROLGICO CICERO often invoked Cassius in the courtroom: “Cui bono?” the former would ask. Who benefits? The answer would provide motive and somehow make the world an easier place to grasp. The Romans did understand Man. In the courtroom, as in trade, this is the only question that matters: Who benefits in the transaction? Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte came under fire for announcing the intent to pursue joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China, earning the ire of…