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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 12 Mar 2018
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.
By Mark J. Valencia - 20 Feb 2018
Two recent publications by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for International and Security Studies condemn China’s policies and actions in the South China Sea while ignoring the similar transgressions of the others there.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Indonesia and Vietnam in January 2018. The goal of the US strategy in Asia is to win the “great power competition” against China. However, the Trump administration seems oblivious to the US loss of soft power in the region.
The January 6, 2018 collision between the Panamanian-flagged Iranian-owned tanker Sanchi and the Hong Kong-registered grain freighter CF Crystal in the East China Sea has created a potential environmental disaster. China and Japan have been slow to respond.
The latest edition of the US Navy Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations is out. It is the first such revision in a decade — but it continues to convey to US Navy commanders controversial and unilateral interpretations of the international law of the sea.
In its focus on China’s actions in the South China Sea, AMTI “largely neglects the lack of self-restraint and military activities of other claimants like the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam,” as well as by the US. Its recent report continues to reflect this bias.
US pressure, both public and private, is forcing each prospective member as well as other players to face some very tough decisions regarding their future relations with China. To the chagrin of the US, their decisions are neither easy nor clear cut.
The Trump administration has re-raised the decade-old geopolitical concept of the “Indo-Pacific” region and is proposing and pushing a so-called “Quad,” a potential security arrangement among the four large democracies of India, Australia, Japan, and the US.