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India Backs Philippines On South China Sea Row

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India backed the Philippines in its dispute with China over islands in South China Sea, which Manila calls West Philippine Sea, saying it wanted peaceful resolution to the maritime disputes, at the heart of which lies Beijing’s expansive maritime claim in the form of the nine-dashed line covering 90% of the sea’s waters.

India’s position implies diplomatic support for the Philippines’ decision to approach Permanent Court of Arbitration against Beijing’s maritime claims in early 2013 and persisting with arbitration even though China boycotted the proceedings of the Arbitral Tribunal for long. [READ MORE]

XI’S VIETNAM VISIT: MORE SYMBOL THAN SUBSTANCE

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President Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam on November 5-6 was the first by a Chinese president in 10 years. Hu Jintao made a trip in November 2005, when relations between the two countries were relatively relaxed.

The period from 2006 to 2008, when China reached out to Southeast Asian neighbors and cooperated with the United States on a number of important issues, was one of the most constructive in the modern history of Chinese foreign policy. [READ MORE]

HOW THE U.S. FON PROGRAM IS LAWFUL AND LEGITIMATE

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The U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) Program has recently drawn significant attention in the United States and abroad. An argument could be made that the program has received more attention in 2015 than in its preceding 35 years combined.

This recent focus arose as the world witnessed China engage in reclamation (enhancement of naturally-formed areas of land) and “clamation” (construction of artificial islands on low-tide elevations and submerged features) in the Spratly Island group in the South China Sea – activities on an unprecedented scale and with questionable intent. [READ MORE]

U.S. patrols to raise stakes with Beijing in disputed South China Sea

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U.S. plans to send warships or military aircraft within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, possibly within days, could open a tense new front in Sino-U.S. rivalry.

A range of security experts said Washington's so-called freedom of navigation patrols would have to be regular to be effective, given Chinese ambitions to project power deep into maritime Southeast Asia and beyond. [READ MORE]

Japan’s Fleet Review: Abe Boards US Warship for First Time Ever

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This weekend, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) displayed its naval power during a fleet review involving 50 vessels and 61 aircraft in Sagami Bay off Yokosuka, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Tokyo, The Japan Times reports.

Japan’s navy used the review to showcase its latest hardware including carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. Vessels from India, South Korea, Australia, France and the United States also participated in the event. 10, 000 Japanese citizens won tickets to observe the naval parade aboard JMSDF vessels. [READ MORE]

China and the Deep Blue Sea

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HO CHI MINH CITY – Since December 2013, China has added more than 1,200 hectares to islands in the South China Sea.

The geopolitical implications of these land reclamation efforts are well documented: The majority of the activity has taken place on the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in the waters between Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, all of which – along with China, Taiwan, and Brunei – have competing claims to the region. [READ MORE]

US-China summit: ASEAN CENTRALITY AT RISK

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There are three reasons why Asean leaders must pay serious attention to the outcome of the most anticipated state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his summit with US President Barack Obama later this month.

Their tete-a-tete will have far-reaching repercussions in the region, coming at a time of rising tension between the world's two most powerful nations. [READ MORE]

10 Things You May Have Missed in DoD’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

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At first glance, the recently released Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy looks like a rehash of a lot of old points about the US’ position on Pacific matters.

But upon closer examination, there is a key shift in language that those of us who watch the region will take note of.  Here are ten things you might have missed: [REAED MORE]

The military consequences of China’s island-building operations in Spratly archipelago

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SCSC - China is massively accelerating its land reclamation and island-building operations at a number of features that the country has occupied in Spratly archipelago. In addition, according to various satellite images and data collected by U.S. surveillance aircraft, China has placed artillery pieces[1] and extensively conducted military buildup, including a 3,000-meter long runway and airborne early warning radar systems[2].

China’s militarization of the Spratly area leads to a range of serious consequences.

First of all, as stated by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear, Beijing could deploy long-range radars and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft (including unmanned aircraft) to claim a territorial sea or national airspace around any artificial features formed by China’s reclamation activities[3].

Read more...

How Should Vietnam Respond to China's South China Sea Oil Rig Return?

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The redeployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (SCS) shows an inconsistency in the rhetoric and practice of China’s policy in the disputed waters. Together with its mass land reclamation activities, these actions are part and parcel of coercive diplomacy.

It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic sea. But is it likely to escalate into regional conflict? [READ MORE]

PRESS RELEASE: Arbitration between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China

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On Monday, 13 July 2015, the Arbitral Tribunal concluded the hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”).

The hearing, which commenced on 7 July 2015, took place in the Peace Palace, the headquarters of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands. [READ MORE]

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