The Asia Factor – The Diplomat

Advertisement Doomsday just got a little bit closer.  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced today that it has moved the hands on the “Doomsday Clock” forward to just 100 seconds to midnight.  The Bulletin’s President and CEO Rachel Bronson and the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board explained why the internationally recognized symbol had been reset to its latest-ever setting. The abandonment of arms control treaties, inaction on climate change, and continued modernization of nuclear arsenals and development of new weapons systems have all contributed to decreased global security. The…

Asia Times | Post-Brexit Britain eyes new forceful role in Asia

When Britain leaves the European Union (EU) later this month, it will be free to chart its own independent course in foreign affairs and fulfill years of promises to build a truly “global Britain.” That will likely entail a historic realignment of its foreign policy interests from the Middle East and Africa to the “Indo-Pacific,” one of the three “primary centers of the global economy and political influence”, after North America and Europe, according to the United Kingdom’s last National Security Capability Review published in March 2018. The Indo-Pacific is…

Is America On the Decline And Ceding Its Position to China in Asia?

“American Sunset?” was the title of a panel I was recently asked to join at a prominent international conference. The organizers were interested in exploring the implications of America’s “decline,” and specifically its impact on the security order in the Indo-Pacific. It’s a theme I’ve grown accustomed to hearing in recent years. There’s a powerful, stubborn perception percolating through the Indo-Pacific, and the world at large, that American power and influence is one the wane. For many, the story of 21st Century geopolitics is being written by the spectacular rise…

How China’s rise is changing diplomacy dynamics in Asia

Recently, I traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Learning that I had come from Hong Kong, the first thing a cab driver there asked me was: is the unrest now under control? Some other ethnic Chinese cab drivers whom I encountered during the trip simply sighed, saying they found it difficult to understand why Hong Kong was inflicting an “Armageddon” on itself. To some extent, their questions and doubts, if seen in the historical context of their countries, reflect the view among people in the region that one has to learn…

Potent New Challenge to Beijing’s Nine-Dash Line – Asia Sentinel

As Vietnam takes over (from January 1) the chairmanship of ASEAN, it has received a welcome, surprise present from Malaysia, one that should strengthen solidarity among the maritime-focused members of the organization in challenging China’s imperialist claims to almost the whole South China Sea, stretching almost to the coasts of Borneo, Luzon and Palawan.  The claims are based on wholly fictitious “historic rights” to seas of which China occupies only about 30 percent of the littoral and which were regularly sailed by the peoples of what are now Vietnam, the…

Asia Times | How Indonesia stared down China in South China Sea

Although known to be fiercely nationalistic, Indonesia’s diminutive Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi hardly looks the part of a “bad cop.” But that was the role she was apparently called on to play in Indonesia’s recent stand-off with China in sovereign waters north of the Natuna Islands. The hard line taken by Marsudi, chief political minister Mohamad Mahfud and even President Joko Widodo himself stood in contrast to the more conciliatory tone set by Maritime and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Panjaitan and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. But that, say insiders, ensured…

China’s Growing Influence Rattles Southeast Asia as U.S. Retreats, Survey Shows

SINGAPORE — China’s rising economic and political clout in Southeast Asia is a growing source of concern as U.S. influence wanes under President Donald Trump, according to a survey of officials, academics and other professionals published on Thursday. Of the 1,300 respondents to The State of Southeast Asia survey, the proportion distrusting China rose to over 60% from below 52% in 2019. Nearly 40% said they thought China was “a revisionist power and intends to turn Southeast Asia into its sphere of influence”. GRAPHIC: Distrust of major powers among Southeast…

Trump keeps spoiling US Asia policy

Author: Hunter Marston, ANU Recent brinkmanship between the United States and Iran is the latest signal of Washington’s distraction from great power competition with China. The crisis in the Middle East and impeachment proceedings in Washington have distracted the Trump administration from its stated emphasis on the Indo-Pacific as its priority theatre. In many official statements and documents, including the 2017 National Security Strategy and Vice President Mike Pence’s China speech at the Hudson Institute in October 2018, the administration has articulated a strategy of great power competition with China…