Saturday, August 24
Beijing may be probing the durability of deepening U.S.-Vietnam military-to-military relations. Vietnam has harbored serious questions about the sustainability of U.S. security commitments to allies, let alone what a “free and open” Indo-Pacific Strategy means for U.S. partners. China’s seizure of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines—a U.S. treaty ally—in 2012 is the classic example cited that fuels Hanoi’s speculation about whether Washington can be relied upon.
Energy exploration by China and Turkey within the national waters of other nations is contrary to international law – it is upon the international community to steer recalcitrant states towards obedience.
As long as the claimant states continue to stand up to China’s excessive claims and defend their legitimate claims endorsed by the arbitral award, and as long as other states around the world do not turn a blind eye to the situation and continue to voice their objections to activities in violation of international law, the arbitral award could be considered to have impact and not “just a piece of paper”.
The ASEAN’s Achilles Heel: Institutional Deficit and Leadership Vacuum Amid China’s South China Sea Aggression
ASEAN, long billed as the most successful model of regional integration in the post-colonial world, has become increasingly powerless in constraining Beijing’s emaciation of a regional rules-based order driven by principles of non-aggression, conflict-avoidance, and liberal multilateralism.
While China can gain some ground in short term by flexing its muscle, it would risk greater backlash from its neighbors and collective actions from the international community in the long run. China should not interpret regional countries’ patience and restraint as signs of weakness and accommodation but gestures of goodwill to prompt second, constructive thinking. After all, its unlawful activities will soon meet up with resistance from directly involved nations. Overplaying its hand would eventually prompt strategic realignments across the board to weaken China's power foundation.
© 2016 Maritime Issues