To help counter China’s rise, US turns to its Coast Guard, United States News & Top Stories

WASHINGTON • As a US Coast Guard cutter sailed through the East China Sea last month, Chinese vessels shadowed it on the high seas, US service officials said. It was a reminder to the Americans of where they were: in a strategic area about 300km from China’s shores. The situation underscored the evolving American response to the rise of China and the role of the US Coast Guard, which typically operates missions closer to home. The Coast Guard is increasingly orienting itself towards China, senior officials said, by deploying new…

1,000 Filipinos protest against China ‘invasion’, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA • Protesters descended on the Chinese embassy in Manila yesterday to oppose the Asian superpower’s growing sway in the Philippines and as tensions rise over Beijing’s presence in the disputed South China Sea. Filipino flag-waving marchers chanted “China out” and brandished a banner saying “Defend our sovereign rights”, referring to Beijing’s expansive claims to the resource-rich waterway. “The government headed by President (Rodrigo) Duterte is not responding. What China is doing is almost an invasion,” marcher Alex Legaspi, a 53-year-old teacher, said. While Mr Duterte has largely set aside…

More disputes likely over South China Sea issues: Peking University think tank, East Asia News & Top Stories

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – China will likely face more disputes when pushing for progress in negotiations and cooperation regarding the South China Sea, according to a new situation report released on Tuesday (April 9). The report suggests that China should enhance maritime strategic dialogue with the United States, closely monitor subtle moves by some Asean countries, and persuade extra-regional powers such as Japan, Australia and Britain to help ease tensions in the region. The South China Sea Situation Report was published by the South China Sea Strategic Situation…

Asian Insider April 10: Are we ready for air taxis?, Asia News & Top Stories

Happy Wednesday, Today: US sends a warship to the South China Sea, Netanyahu faces a bumpy ride despite winning, construction of the Japanese embassy in Seoul hits a snag, air taxis and more. Know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? They can sign up here. TENSIONS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA The US has sent a warship to join drills near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea for the first time, reports Bloomberg today – a move that raises temperatures again in the waterway and places…

Philippines’ Duterte calls China a friend amid South China Sea tensions, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is maintaining a friendly tone toward China, even after defence officials raised concerns over an increased Chinese presence around a disputed island in the South China Sea. China isn’t after Philippine territory and hasn’t asked for anything in exchange for the weapons and aid it’s given the Philippines, Duterte said in a campaign speech in Manila late Tuesday (April 2). “You know, Red China or Communist China just wants to be friends with us,” Duterte said. He added that he wouldn’t confront China…

Issues of sovereignty and competing boundary claims, Opinion News & Top Stories

Sovereign boundaries are important to the construction of a nation-state, in defining its national identity, staking claims to natural resources and in determining citizenship. Competing claims over territories can become the source of friction between nations, and heightened tensions carry the risk of boiling over into conflicts. One ongoing dispute is over the South China Sea, which China claims almost all of, but is also contested by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, either in whole or in part. Much of the contested areas lie around the Spratly Islands…

Taiwan condemns China after jets fly past maritime line, East Asia News & Top Stories

TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Taiwan on Sunday (March 31) condemned what it called a “provocative” move from China after two Chinese fighter jets flew past a maritime line amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing. Earlier on Sunday, Taiwan scrambled aircraft to “drive away” two Chinese fighter jets which it said flew past a maritime border in Taiwan Strait, the self-ruled island’s Defence Ministry said in a statement late on Sunday. The ministry said China’s move had “seriously impacted regional safety and stability”. There was no immediate reaction from Beijing. China…

Domestic issues of big powers have global consequences: Experts, East Asia News & Top Stories

The trans-border political whirlwinds of today, including China’s militarisation of the South China Sea and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure push, have been driven primarily by domestic concerns, experts told the Japan Symposium organised by the Milken Institute think-tank yesterday. China’s leaders have seen how Brexit and the French “yellow vest” protests resulted from a segment of the population being alienated by capitalism, the forum heard. In this regard, China’s power play in defying and rewriting global norms, panellists added, is the Chinese Communist Party’s way of safeguarding…

Hun Sen denies Cambodia is Chinese ‘colony’ as work on US$2b road begins, SE Asia News & Top Stories

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodia broke ground on Friday (March 22) on a US$2 billion (S$2.70 billion) Chinese-funded expressway – the country’s first – as strongman premier Hun Sen denied his country was in danger of becoming a colony of Beijing. Once complete in 2023, the expressway will connect the capital Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, a southern resort and seaport that has become a honeypot for Chinese gamblers and investors. The near 200km road is being constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and is a part of China’s…

South China Stories: The savior of the seas

For Li Bo, fighting pollution is a life-long job. In the past two decades, this 41-year-old man has been collecting some thousands of kilograms of plastic trash off the coast of Sanya in Hainan, the southernmost island province of China. In the early 2000s, Li moved to Hainan from a small village in the nation’s northeastern part, merely to fulfill his childhood dream of living near the ocean. However, his expectations were met with disappointment. “I was distraught when I first saw the large amount of garbage in the sea,…