Monthly Archives: July 2015

The growing militarisation of the South China Sea

It’s increasingly clear that China intends to use its artificial islands in the South China Sea for military purposes. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, delivered this assessment on a panel that I was privileged to be part of at the Aspen Security Forum last week. Harris described the newly-created islands as potential […]

Building Islands and Burying Reefs in the South China Sea

Island-building isn’t new. San Francisco built Treasure Island in the 1930s for the Golden Gate International Exposition. Miami’s exclusive Star Island was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers back in the 1920s. And of course there are more recent examples, such as Dubai’s infamous Palm Islands. Chinese development at the newly reclaimed Fiery Cross […]

Cambodia: A New South China Sea Mediator Between China and ASEAN?

Last week, Cambodia’s foreign minister Hor Namhong suggested that Cambodia would continue to seek to be a mediator in South China Sea disputes between China and the claimant states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “Cambodia wants to mediate in order to reduce the tense atmosphere between ASEAN and China because we discern […]

China conducts air, sea drills in South China Sea

China said it conducted air and sea drills in the South China Sea on Tuesday as it stakes an increasingly assertive claim to virtually the whole sea despite rival claims by neighbours. The live-ammunition drills involved more than 100 ships, dozens of aircraft, information warfare units as well as the nuclear force, the state-backed China […]

China’s maritime actions a ’cause for global concern’

China’s construction of oil rigs and artificial islands in the East Sea were illegal, an international seminar was told in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. About two hundred Vietnamese and foreign experts from international institutes and universities in the United States, Russia, Japan and the Philippines attended the function. They said China’s actions had […]

China-Philippines Dispute Over South China Sea

Your July 17 editorial “The South China Sea, in Court,” about the arbitration case raised by the Philippines over rights to the South China Sea, is not fair. China, a latecomer to land reclamation, has been exercising utmost restraint. But the status quo has long been broken by the Philippines and some other claimants, which […]

South China Sea: Philippines v. China

The Philippines v. China case before the arbitral tribunal set up under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has attracted worldwide attention for a number of reasons, one of which being China’s refusal to participate in the proceedings, which were initiated by the Philippines. The non-appearance […]

Top US military official in Pacific says China changing facts, creates false sovereignty

The Commander of United States Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris reiterates US call to immediately halt land reclamation in West Philippine Sea. “These activities are harming the environment and will not strengthen any country’s legal claims to disputed areas in the South China Sea,” the top American military officer in the Pacific said at […]

China’s flawed grand strategy

China is a country with more than a billion people, but as Ross Terrill observed, when we ask what China wants, we are really attempting to discern the goals of the seven “male engineers” who make up the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. This clarification makes the answer straightforward: Like […]