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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 04 Jul 2018
The war of words and tit-for-tat provocative actions of China and the US regarding the South China Sea could spiral out of control. Thus, it is a good time for analysts and decision makers to step back and distinguish between hope (the possible) and reality (the probable).
By Mark J. Valencia - 05 Jun 2018
Most analysts agree that China and the US are locked in a seminal long-term struggle for dominance in Asia. A new and more dangerous phase in their troubled relationship may be beginning and one window on this dynamic is their behavior in the South China Sea.
The US and China have apparently reached a tacit agreement to disagree and to maintain a leaky status quo, a “new normal.” Not coincidentally, relations on this issue between the ASEAN claimants and between ASEAN and China are more or less at the same place.
Taiwan’s interests and role in the South China Sea disputes have essentially been officially ignored. With the election of US President Donald Trump and appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, its influence and involvement may increase substantially.
There is a growing protest over Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to downplay the Philippines international arbitration victory over China regarding the South China Sea. Although many of his policy decisions are problematic, in this case his decision has merit.
As the Western media cacophony of assertions regarding the South China Sea imbroglio approaches a crescendo, it is a good time to pause and parse some of the more common and controversial ones.
The US is trying to organize a "coalition of the willing" to interdict US listed suspect ships carrying UN-banned cargo to or from North Korea. If it fails to win support to do this from Russia and China, the US may be willing to use necessary force without UNSC approval.
In the wake of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pilgrimage to Washington, Australia is edging ever closer to publicly choosing between China and the US in its Asia security policy. It may well become reality and with the choice comes consequences.