Monthly Archives: June 2017

Rising tensions and temperatures in the South China Sea

Marine environmental protection and management is an important aspect of climate change adaptation. Coastal and marine habitats — especially coral reefs and wetlands — are bastions against waves, erosion and flooding that are predicted to get more frequent and intensified due to climate change. A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of […]

We abandoned our independent foreign policy

Since President Duterte took office, he has been claiming that he is pursuing an “independent foreign policy.” The sad part is that we had an independent foreign policy, until the start of his administration. How we got to this mess may be traced to the often quoted commencement speech of then Sen. Claro M. Recto […]

South China Sea: America needs a better strategy

The China strategy of US President Donald Trump’s administration is confused and confusing, both in general and in particular vis-a-vis the South China Sea. Ordinarily, US policy regarding some marginal sea in Asia would not be a front-burner issue. Indeed it should not be of prime importance when compared to US problems with North Korea […]

US admiral slams China over South China Sea

In the era of fake news, the public also needs to be wary of fake islands. Top US military commander Admiral Harry Harris has accused Beijing of building up combat power and positional advantage in an attempt to assert de facto sovereignty over disputed territory in the South China Sea. ‘Fake islands should not be […]

Is a New China-Vietnam Maritime Crisis Brewing in the South China Sea?

What are the implications of China’s abrupt cancellation of military border activities with Vietnam? This year’s long-scheduled Vietnam-China 4th Border Defense Friendly Exchange was unexpectedly canceled, reportedly due to Chinese displeasure at Vietnam’s resumption of oil exploration activities in the South China Sea. Neither side officially has confirmed this development. This article reviews public and […]

What’s Behind the Resumed Vietnam-Philippines South China Sea Activity?

Manila and Hanoi resumed naval personnel interaction on a feature in the disputed waters. On June 22, Vietnam and the Philippines conducted the third iteration of their naval personnel interactions on Southwest Cay in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. In doing so, both sides have effectively resumed an intra-ASEAN confidence-building activity in […]

Trump’s South China Sea Policy Leaves U.S. Allies Perplexed—and Anxious

On June 21, the United States and China held their first-ever Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in Washington. The dialogue, co-chaired on the American side by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, is a new iteration of engagement that evolved from the April meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese […]

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte says the name ‘South China Sea’ reflects China’s historical claim

t’s all in the name, according to President Rodrigo Duterte. The fact that the South China Sea is named such reflects the historical claim of China to it, he said. STATEMENT In an ambush interview April 27 at Malacañang, Duterte told journalists: “They really claim it as their own, noon pa iyan. Hindi lang talaga […]


China has announced plans to set up a submarine observation network that will explore the seabed of the disputed East and South China Sea regions, the first of its kind. Chinese state media outlet Xinhua news reported that the project would collect data to be analyzed in Shanghai, and will be completed within five years […]