A Reflection on the 2019 White Paper on Vietnamese National Defense

The euphoria about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Indonesia and elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia (SEA) has been felt since 2017, particularly following the country’s participation in the BRI Summit in Beijing that year, where Indonesia (along with other SAARC and ASEAN member states) was expected to receive massive investments from China to support several infrastructure projects. This year, the debates concerning the BRI are again becoming prevalent after Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan as Indonesia’s representative signed 28 BRI projects last April.…

Vietnam’s Defense Policy Eyes China

Defense is serious business in Vietnam, a country that has a history of fighting off foreign aggressors. Today, in the context of more contested strategic environment and increasing pressure from a more aggressive China, Vietnam needs an update to its defense policy. The 2019 defense white paper released last month, Vietnam’s first in 10 years, doesn’t offer detailed updates on the force structure and organization of its military forces and makes only a passing reference to the defense budget spending in a footnote about the fluctuation in the percentage of…

Malaysia points to top concerns in first-ever defense whitepaper

MELBOURNE, Australia — Malaysia has unveiled its first-ever defense whitepaper, identifying its maritime claims in the South China Sea as a top concern, amid a stagnant budget that continues to dog attempts at modernizing its military. Tabling the document in Malaysia’s Parliament, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the whitepaper is an opportunity to discuss the Southeast Asian nation’s strategic outlook. Unsurprisingly, ongoing tension between the U.S. and China received attention in the minister’s speech, where he noted that competition between both powers over technological, maritime and other issues were likely…

Foreign Drugs, Rebels Give Philippines New Causes to Bolster Defense | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – The dispatch of two Philippine coast guard ships to the Sulu Sea might normally register as a quick blip on the radar of world maritime movement. But shipments of illegal drugs and support for violent Muslim rebels cross that sea from other countries into the Philippines, which struggles to contain both. The Chinese navy is growing stronger not far away, too, and China disputes tracts of sea with the Philippines. The Philippines has historically had a weak defense, especially at sea. Research database GlobalFirePower.com ranks the Philippine…

Freedom of Navigation in South China Sea Critical to Prosperity, Says Indo-Pacific Commander > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Story

Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke today at the Halifax International Security Forum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Freedom of navigation by air and by sea is important globally, including in the South China Sea, where trillions of dollars in commerce transit each year, he said. However, over the years, China has been militarizing islands in the South China Sea and has increased its capability there, he said. Now, China wants to come up with a code of conduct between it and the Association of…

ASEAN defense ministers meet in Bangkok

The defense ministers of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have met in Bangkok to discuss regional security issues. The meeting took place in the Thai capital on Sunday. In a speech, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan expressed hope for continued cooperation among member countries to address challenges facing the region’s security. The 10 ASEAN defense ministers are believed to have discussed the South China Sea, where China is increasing its presence. North Korean denuclearization is also believed to have been on the agenda. During a summit…

Amphibious Ops, Air Defense Key in Philippines Exercise With U.S., Japanese Forces

Marine Lance Cpl. David Lancheros shares his knowledge about the engagement process of a FIM-92 stinger missile with Philippine Airman 2nd class Sherwin Faoeranga during a subject matter expert exchange as part of exercise KAMANDAG 3 at Colonel Ernesto P. Ravina Air Base, Philippines on Oct. 9, 2019. US Marine Corps Photo U.S. Marines are sharpening their amphibious skills right alongside amphibious assault vehicle crews of Philippine Marines and Japanese sea soldiers in a series of exercises that aim to tighten cooperation between the three nations. The Philippine-led exercise, known…

Philippines, US defense treaty should address China’s ‘gray zone’ tactics — analysts

Philippines, US defense treaty should address China’s ‘gray zone’ tactics — analysts MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States should revise its 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to counter China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea, analysts said. Adrien Chorn and Monica Michiko Sato of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program noted that the existing treaty between the two countries is not clear on gray zone threats. Chorn and Sato noted that gray zone threats can include a mix of conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing…

Extension of defense pact with Singapore will enable US roil S.China Sea waters

US President Donald Trump (right) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore hold a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the US on September 23. Photo: AFP Editor’s Note: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Donald Trump on September 23 renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding Regarding United States’ Use of Facilities In Singapore, a key defense pact between the two countries, and extended it by another 15 years to 2035. How will this move influence security in the…