All eyes were on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar from September 5-7, 2017. Firstly, it followed his visit to China, where he had gone to attend the BRICS Summit. Second, the visits to both China and Myanmar came soon after the end of the Doklam standoff.
The Center for Security and International Studies is one of America’s most respected think tanks focused on defense and security. A recent article in The Rushford Report implies sub rosa bias in the organization of CSIS’s South China Sea conferences.
The year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN. India’s Act East Policy is to cultivate strategic and economic relations with the countries of Southeast Asia in order to strengthen India’s posture as a regional power.
At the end of the August 2017 ASEAN gathering in Manila, ASEAN overcame all obstacles and issued a communique addressing the non-militarization of the South China Sea. Both China and ASEAN have also agreed on the framework for a Code of Conduct.
For 70 years the United States has dominated Southeast Asia with both hard and soft power. While its hard power is still dominant and may even grow, its soft power seems to have declined. This decrease is both absolute and relative to that of China.
Cambodia was one of the first countries to take a strong stance supporting the BRI and the Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after their establishment in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
From August 2-8, 2017, ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners, including rivals China and the United States, will have a series of key security meetings in the Philippines. Casting a shadow upon these meetings will be recent developments regarding the South China Sea.
The Philippine city of Marawi was overrun by IS-linked insurgents in May 2017. The persistence of the insurgency has dragged out the battle with government forces. As of July 25, at least 453 militants, 109 government troops, and 45 civilians had been killed in the fighting.
As a small state, Singapore’s foreign policy is largely premised on a realist approach to international relations. At the same time, the question as to whether realism can be harmonized with a principled approach to the practice of diplomacy is worth pondering.
Joseph Bosco’s critique of China’s actions in the South China Sea, the Obama administration’s response and other issues raises the fundamental questions of the purpose and necessity of Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.