US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unprecedented four trips to North Korea in 2018. His mission for the fourth trip was quite clear — to sustain the momentum of the peace process started from the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.
An unfavorable outcome in the mid-term elections for Trump will likely be leveraged by the Kim regime to extract a maximum number of concessions from the US and stakeholders to pursue economic development and retain his strategic nuclear deterrent.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative recently released a “A Blueprint for Oil and Gas Production in the South China Sea.” It is an important contribution to thinking about interim solutions to these seemingly intractable disputes.
With cooling regional temperatures in East Asian affairs and politics, some wonder if the defense budgets in the region will also cool down correspondingly. The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore set the way for the possibility of lasting peace in East Asia.
A US Navy Poseidon 8-A flew over or “near” four of China’s occupied features in the South China Sea. A radio voice identifying itself as “the Chinese military” requested the plane to “leave immediately and keep off to avoid any misunderstanding.”
Turkey’s currency dropped by 1/5 of its value against the US dollar on August 10, 2018. One of the most significant rescue packages came from Qatar which came up with USD 15 billion worth of investments for Turkey.
At the ASEAN meetings, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated an indirect but obvious warning to China that Washington was committed to the rule of law in the South China Sea. He then announced a security aid package to Southeast Asia prioritizing maritime security.
Singapore hosted the 51st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting from July 30 to August 4, 2018. ASEAN will certainly seek to augment its community building in a world where geopolitical shifts and disruptive forces are taking place.
In the run up to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ first visit to China from June 27-28, 2018, he said: “I want to go in without poisoning the well and do a lot of listening.” Well he certainly got an earful regarding the South China Sea.