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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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 the disputed waters even amid the recent changes in dynamics in the South China Sea.

Until the inauguration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnam and the Philippines had been significantly strengthening their maritime collaboration as well as their broader relationship for several reasons, including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. The two sides had come up with mechanisms from hotlines to working groups to facilitate confidence-building, and the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership in 2015 under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III (See: “Philippines, Vietnam to Ink Strategic Partnership by End of 2015”).

One of the string of agreements reached during this time in the maritime realm was a 2012 protocol for bilateral naval exchanges on Southwest Cay, currently occupied by Vietnam, and Northeast Cay, occupied by the Philippines. At the time, the interaction between the two countries was hailed as an example of intra-ASEAN confidence building in the South China Sea at a time of heightened tensions.

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 the disputed waters even amid the recent changes in dynamics in the South China Sea.

Until the inauguration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnam and the Philippines had been significantly strengthening their maritime collaboration as well as their broader relationship for several reasons, including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. The two sides had come up with mechanisms from hotlines to working groups to facilitate confidence-building, and the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership in 2015 under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III (See: “Philippines, Vietnam to Ink Strategic Partnership by End of 2015”).

One of the string of agreements reached during this time in the maritime realm was a 2012 protocol for bilateral naval exchanges on Southwest Cay, currently occupied by Vietnam, and Northeast Cay, occupied by the Philippines. At the time, the interaction between the two countries was hailed as an example of intra-ASEAN confidence building in the South China Sea at a time of heightened tensions.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/06/whats-behind-the-resumed-vietnam-philippines-south-china-sea-activity/

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail