China vs America: the struggle for south-east Asia

Is Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s secretary of state, preparing to abandon Barack Obama’s powder-puff Asian foreign policies? It is now widely agreed that Obama, under whom Blinken served as deputy secretary of state, ceded to China uncontested control of the South China Sea. Obama’s so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ was all talk and no trousers. Blinken, who believes that diplomacy must be ‘supplemented by deterrence’, may be about to implement a more aggressive foreign policy in south-east Asia and elsewhere. In his first speech as general secretary of the Communist…

China’s Move to Empower Coast Guard Stirs Tensions | Voice of America

China’s new law allowing its coast guard to “open fire” on foreign vessels is causing serious anxiety in the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. The move may help China to create a quasi-military presence even in sea areas where its navy is absent, analysts say. The Philippines, one of several countries with competing claims to portions of the South China Sea, has lodged a formal protest describing the law as “a verbal threat of war.” Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi has said that Japan holds “major doubts” about the law and…

Latest High-Level US Visit to Asia Seen Locking in Trump’s Tough China Policy | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – U.S. national security advisor Robert O’Brien is visiting Vietnam and the Philippines this month to help bulk up international resistance against Chinese maritime expansion, a sore spot between the superpowers, in ways that outlast President Donald Trump’s term in office, analysts say.    O’Brien met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during a November 20-22 trip. The national security advisor “reaffirmed U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that contributes to international security and respects the rule of law,” the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam said…

Why China and a Bloc of Nations Led by Vietnam Just Met but Ignored Asia’s Biggest Maritime Dispute | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – China and leaders from 10 Southeast Asian countries who held annual summits this month sidestepped a sticky maritime sovereignty question to focus on trade and COVID-19, signaling a tough year ahead for the rival nations, experts believe.   Apart from polite acknowledgements of the dispute, which engulfs about 90% of the South China Sea including prime fisheries and energy-exploration tracts, Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) barely touched on the issue at the 37th ASEAN Summit November 12-15.  More robust discussions focused on China’s international COVID-19 response…

Amid China Tensions, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam Pin Hopes on Biden | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Projected U.S. president-elect Joe Biden will energize Southeast Asian countries that spar with the more powerful China over the disputed South China Sea by siding with them without inviting armed conflict, analysts believe. These analysts are looking to the record of former U.S. president Barack Obama’s administration – in which Biden served as vice president – for clues to what Biden might do in the region. Obama pursued what his government described as a “pivot to Asia” from 2011 as the region became more vital to U.S. economic interests.…

Biden Likely to Continue Hardline Policy Toward China on Security Issues | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – U.S.-China relations are at their lowest point in years following conflicts over trade and coronavirus during the administration of President Donald Trump. That is creating intense interest in President-elect Joe Biden’s China policy plans. In Washington, political observers say Biden is likely to continue to take a tough stance on China but may pay more attention to working with U.S. allies to put pressure on Beijing. Speaking at a Democratic debate during the campaign earlier this year, Biden said he spent more time with Chinese leader Xi Jinping…

Why US Wants to Send Coast Guard to the Seas Near China | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A U.S. plan to steer Coast Guard vessels toward waters frequented by Chinese vessels will bulk up Washington’s resolve to contain Beijing’s maritime expansion without inviting a hot conflict, analysts believe.    The U.S. Coast Guard is “strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters” in the Western Pacific to protect the interests of the United States and “partners in the region,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement October 23. The timing is still being worked out, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesman said Monday.    Coast Guard…

Why the US Wants to Send its Coast Guard to the Seas Near China | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A U.S. plan to steer Coast Guard vessels toward waters frequented by Chinese vessels will bulk up Washington’s resolve to contain Beijing’s maritime expansion without inviting a hot conflict, analysts believe.    The U.S. Coast Guard is “strategically homeporting significantly enhanced Fast Response Cutters” in the Western Pacific to protect the interests of the United States and “partners in the region,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement October 23. The timing is still being worked out, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesman said Monday.    Coast Guard…

Amid U.S.-China conflict, can Latin America find its way?

The Chinese embassy in Suriname simply replied: “We advise Mr. Pompeo to respect facts and truth, abandon arrogance and prejudice, stop smearing and spreading rumors about China.” Can LAC countries actually cooperate? Do LAC countries have any alternative? In an article published by Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, Chilean ex-diplomats assert that LAC could adopt “active non-alignment,” which was used during the Cold War when Washington butted heads with Moscow. But the authors warn that “the difference is that, this time, the stakes from an economic point of view are much higher,…

Heralding Deal with China, Philippines Restarts Offshore Oil-Gas Exploration in Disputed Sea | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – The Philippine government’s lifting of a ban on offshore oil and gas exploration reopens the door to joint energy development with China, the erstwhile biggest player in a regional maritime sovereignty dispute, analysts believe.     Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a Department of Energy proposal to resume exploration in the South China Sea, the department said October 15 in a statement online. Exploration was called off six years ago as a Sino-Philippine maritime dispute peaked.   Resumption of oil and gas exploration will “infuse the economy with…