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ASEAN summit: South China Sea, coronavirus pandemic cast a shadow

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ASEAN summit South China Sea coronavirus pandemic cast a shadowSoutheast Asia's top diplomats are holding their annual summit with the coronavirus pandemic and rising tensions in the South China Sea amid escalating rivalry between the United States and China topping the agenda.

The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit began via video link on Wednesday after being delayed by a month due to the pandemic.

The foreign ministers of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are also set to meet Asian and Western counterparts during the summit.

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Is Trump a Turning Point in World Politics?

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Is Trump a Turning Point in World PoliticsCAMBRIDGE – As the United States enters the home stretch of the 2020 presidential election campaign, and with neither party’s nominating convention featuring much discussion of foreign policy, the contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden apparently will be waged mainly on the battleground of domestic issues. In the long run, however, historians will ask whether Trump’s presidency was a major turning point in America’s role in the world, or just a minor historical accident.

At this stage, the answer is unknowable, because we do not know if Trump will be re-elected. My book Do Morals Matter? rates the 14 presidents since 1945 and gives Trump a formal grade of “incomplete,” but for now he ranks in the bottom quartile.

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Beijing – The one who is playing victim game

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Beijing The one who is playing victim gameOn August 4, 2020, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) ran an article titled “The situation of Vietnamese Fishing Vessels’ Illegal Activities in the South China Sea” on Wechat. The article provides data of 702 Vietnamese fishing vessels that entered China’s close waters in July 2020, of which 91 fishing vessels operated “illegally” in China’s internal and territorial waters, a sharp increase compared to the 75 ships in June 2020.

It is ridiculous to look at the title of the post because it is the thieves that are shouting. The whole world knows that China is using its fishing vessels as a third force to carry out intrusion, violate the waters of neighboring countries, and carry out the plot of monopolization of the South China Sea. More than that, even in the East China Sea, Chinese fishing vessels also constantly encroach on the Japan’s waters and are chased away by Japan Coast Guard.

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Pondering over Vietnam’s policy versus the East Sea

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Pondering over Vietnams policy versus the East SeaBeing an overseas Vietnamese, I have always followed closely the situation in the East Sea with concern and indignation at the ongoing tensions in the East Sea in the recent time. The strategic competition between the United States and China has been taking place in the fiercest manner up to now.

Availing itself of the situation when the whole world is facing the Covid-19 pandemic caused by China itself, the country is now accelerating its hostile activities and repeatedly holding military exercises in the East Sea in attempt to solely occupy it. The United States is determined not to let China “do whatever it wishes to do” in the East Sea. While the United States is focusing its efforts to respond to the pandemic, it is still strengthening its presence in the East Sea through deploying warships (aircraft carriers, missile-guide frigates, coast combat ships, landing ships, submarines, advanced surveillance aircraft, strategic bombers…) to operate in the East Sea. Of late, there were two major drills involved two aircraft carriers, namely USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, right after China started its military exercise in the Hoang Sa archipelago of Vietnam in early July.

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China Builds Surveillance Network In South China Sea

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China builds surChina has been building a series of surveillance platforms spanning parts of the South China Sea (SCS). Many of these are in Chinese waters, but several are floating in international waters.

This is controversial, not least the dual-use military context of the network. While ostensibly civilian, these can be viewed as part of the Chinese Navy’s (PLAN) efforts to control the SCS. It is unrealistic to assume that their sensor data cannot be accessed by the PLAN for military purposes. And they may be part of a much larger sensor network, most of which is unseen beneath the waves. This reinforces China’s strategic advantage over other countries in the region, and can be used to monitor U.S. Navy movements.

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Vietnam’s Response to the United States’ Changing Approach to the South China Sea

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Vietnam responseJuly 2020 marked a significant shift in developments regarding the South China Sea. The Trump administration announced a series of high-level statements that explicitly reject China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea as inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The U.S. statements further reaffirm the 2016 tribunal ruling, from The Hague, against China’s claims. The U.S. shift from being officially neutral and not taking the side of claimant states in the South China Sea to rejecting Beijing’s claims as unlawful and excessive are advantageous to the Southeast Asian claimant states. Yet, across Southeast Asian capitals, views on the United States’ new statements are divided. A few have publicly and directly referred to the statements, but many are worried that the United States’ seeming position change is less related to upholding international law and has more to do with Washington trying to escalate tensions with China.

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U.S. health chief to be highest-ranking official in decades to visit Taiwan, angering China

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US health chiefTAIPEI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, his office said on Tuesday, making the highest-level visit by a U.S. official in four decades - a move that angered China, which claims the island as its own.

Azar’s visit will worsen already poor Beijing-Washington relations, inflamed over trade, the pandemic and human rights, even as democratic Taiwan has welcomed the show of support in the face of unrelenting Chinese pressure.

During his visit, Azar will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said, which may infuriate China further.

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A Feast to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the PCA South China Sea Ruling

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PCADifferent from the last three years, this year is marked with the high-profile 4thanniversary of the PCA South China Sea Ruling. Various events to praise the rule of law in the South China Sea took place.

1. The ‘feast’ begins with a message from the Philippines Foreign Secretary on July 12th 2020. July 12th was the exact day four years ago when The Hague Tribunal issued a ruling rejecting China’s sovereignty claims over most of the South China Sea.

In his message, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stated that the PCA South China Sea Ruling 2016 was “non-negotiable”, and called for China’s serious compliance with the ruling. Mr Locsin also underscored that the ruling “conclusively settled the issue of historic rights and maritime entitlements in the South China Sea… under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS)”.

By adducing China’s acts in violation of international law cited by the Tribunal, including massive reclamation and construction of artificial features in the South China Sea with severe environmental impacts, Mr Locsin stressed the Tribunal’s conclusion that certain actions of China within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights and “were thus unlawful”.

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Can Cam Ranh Bay-Port Blair-Djibouti form a strategic Maritime chain hub to tackle China?

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Can Cam Ranh BayThe world at present is grappling with the Global Pandemic Coronavirus, but Chinese maritime security aggressiveness in the East China Sea, South China Sea and off late the Indian Ocean is at an all high. This belligerence and expansionism by China in the international waters is a major cause of concern for most countries. Keeping Chinese aggressiveness in mind, the article tries to suggest a strategic line of maritime hubs which can be called a chain of maritime hubs to tackle China.

This year in April, a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea was sunk by a Chinese ship. Viet Nam garnered a lot of support from the United States where the United States State Department “criticised China for ramming and sinking the Vietnamese fishing boat and was seriously concerned about this incident”.

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US military commander says China pushing South China Sea claims under cover of COVID-19

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tải xuống 1TOKYO: China is using the coronavirus as a cover to push territorial claims in the South China Sea through a surge in naval activity meant to intimidate other countries that claim the waters, the commander of United States Forces in Japan said on Friday (Jun 5).

There has been a surge of activity by China in the South China Sea with navy ships, coast guard vessels and a naval militia of fishing boats harassing vessels in waters claimed by Beijing, said Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider.

"Through the course of the (COVID-19) crisis we saw a surge of maritime activity," he told Reuters in a phone interview. He said Beijing had also increased its activity in the East China Sea, where it has a territorial dispute with Japan.

Beijing's increased level of activity would likely continue, predicted Schneider: "I don't see troughs, I see plateaus," he said.

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Vietnam- France cooperation in COVID-19 fight under discussion

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VNFrancecoopThe pair noted with satisfaction great strides in their countries’ strategic partnership politics, economy, trade, aerospace, healthcare, environment protection, education-training, culture and tourism, while highlighting huge potential for the development of bilateral cooperation in the time to come.

The French PM recalled his visit to Vietnam in 2018 and agreed that both nations need to step up communication to devise measures aimed at developing the strategic partnership in a more extensive and effective manner.

Edouard Philippe applauded Vietnam’s efforts in the COVID-19 fight and thanked the Vietnamese Government and people for their medical supplies for his country, which he said indicate the sentiment and close ties between the two nations.

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