A robust, binding code of conduct for the South China Sea has become a “holy grail” for analysts and decision makers alike. Many have tried to find it and failed. The Blueprint for a South China Sea Code of Conduct is likely to fail to gain wide acceptance too.
The strategic move of restructuring China’s arm forces is aimed at building a joint battle system and strengthening joint command ensuring the People’s Liberation Army’s capability of “fighting and winning battles and effectively safeguarding China’s national security.”
The near-collision between the United States warship Decatur and a Chinese warship in September 2018 is only the most recent in a series of near misses between their warships and warplanes in and over the South China Sea.
At Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 9, 2018, the “Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism between the defense authorities of China and Japan” was set up to prevent accidental clashes in the air and at sea.
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.
The articles by Gordon Chang in response to Lyle Goldstein’s posted in the National Interest contain several inappropriate innuendos. One of Chang’s statements is: “Wars start because aggressors read articles like Lyle Goldstein’s and think they can take what they want.”
The China-Japan Maritime and Airspace Liaison Mechanism, activated on June 8, 2018, is a crisis management mechanism established by the defense departments of both countries to prevent friction or conflict in their frontline forces of the sea and air.
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.