With China’s oil rig back in the South China Sea, what’s Vietnam’s play?

Chinese Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981, 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea, 7 May, 2012. On July 16, 2014, China moved an oil rig that it had deployed in a section of the South China Sea, triggering a dispute with Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Chau Bao Nguyen, University of East Anglia

The redeployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (SCS) shows an inconsistency in the rhetoric and practice of China’s policy in the disputed waters. Together with its mass land reclamation activities, these actions are part and parcel of coercive diplomacy. It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic sea. But is it likely to escalate into regional conflict? Read more…

Small ASEAN states deserve big-picture security leadership

Members of Australian and Indonesian anti-terrorism squads line up during a counter terrorism exercise in West Java, Indonesia, 13 September 2013, involving the defense forces of the 18 member states of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) countries. The exercise aims to strengthen defense cooperation to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Phoak Kung, CISS

As defence chiefs from 26 countries gathered for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore in May, all eyes were on the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and his Chinese counterpart Admiral Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of People’s Liberation Army. As expected, maritime disputes in the South China Sea dominated the event. But another equally important topic for discussion were the security challenges faced by small states in the Asia Pacific. Read more…

Australia’s new region: the Indo-Pacific

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre), Minister for Defence Stephen Smith (left) and CDF General David Hurley hold a media conference inside a Hurcules military plane after the release of the 2013 Defence white paper in Canberra, Friday, May 3, 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Melissa Conley Tyler and Samantha Shearman, AIIA

With the release of the Defence White Paper 2013 on 3 May, Australia officially has a new region, the ‘Indo-Pacific’: a strategic arc ‘connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans through Southeast Asia’.

Given the long history of linking Australian foreign policy to the ‘Asia-Pacific’, this is a significant change in terminology. How did we get to this point and what are the implications? Read more…

Why US military bases divide Okinawa and mainland Japan

Protesters gather holding placards reading 'NO to the new base in Henoko!' during a demonstration against the construction of a new US military base in an environmentally sensitive part of the island in Nago city, Okinawa island on 28 April 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Shino Hateruma, Waseda University

Okinawa is trapped in a dilemma regarding US military bases in the prefecture. For the past 70 years, the bases have helped deter external attacks on Japan, including on Okinawa. But with over 25,000 US military personnel in Okinawa, and about 18 per cent of its land area being used by the US military, the presence of the bases endangers the lives and properties of the local people. Read more…

Japan’s defence and diplomacy heading in the wrong direction

Protesters walk towards the National Diet building in a demonstration march on 28 July 2015 against the Abe government’s controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arthur Stockwin, Oxford University

Japan is at a momentous turning point. On 16 July 2015 the government of Shinzo Abe used its big majority in the House of Representatives to override objections from opposition parties and pass legislation permitting collective self-defence (CSD). But this is one of several misdirected solutions following years of conservative revisionism. Read more…

Non-traditional security threats in Asia: Finding a regional way forward

Singapore and Brunei rescue team carry a mock body from abandoned construction site during a drill in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Eddie Walsh, The Johns Hopkins University

Asian diplomats are confronting new issues that challenge the very concept of what constitutes a security issue.

Non-traditional security (NTS) issues — such as transnational crime, terrorism, disaster relief, information security, climate change, and public health epidemics — are now considered core national security issues. Read more…

Why India doesn’t support Western sanctions on Russia

President Vladimir Putin speaks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, on 21 October 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Priya Chacko, University of Adelaide

Commentators have expressed surprise at India’s failure to criticise Russia for its incursion into Crimea. Not only did India abstain from voting on the UN General Assembly Resolution condemning Crimea’s annexation but it has also opposed the imposition of Western sanctions. Together with its fellow members in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) forum, India has rejected Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop’s suggestion that Russia be excluded from the G20 summit. Read more…

Japan and the Philippines unite against China

Students wave miniature national flags as a Philippine Navy high-endurance Hamilton-class cutter, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, that had been decomissioned by the US Coast Guard and acquired by Manila, arrives at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Julius Cesar I. Trajano, RSIS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Manila has galvanised Japan’s strategic partnership with the Philippines. The two countries have come together in reaction to China’s assertiveness, and because of converging economic imperatives.

Standing together with Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Abe announced that Tokyo and Manila would expand the scope of their maritime and economic cooperation. Read more…

India gets the message all wrong after Myanmar foray

Indian forces have hunted down and inflicted 'significant casualties' on rebel groups allegedly involved in the killing of 20 soldiers in the remote northeast of the country last week, officials said on 9 June 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Arun Vishwanathan, NIAS, Bangalore

Recent events along the Indo–Myanmar border have proven that India’s Narendra Modi government has a different playbook when it comes to pro-active responses against groups that harm Indian national interests. Read more…

Will RCEP compete with the TPP?

World leaders at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, where the RCEP was launched. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Beginda Pakpahan, UI

Competition appears likely to emerge between ASEAN’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement to launch negotiations for which was reached at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh on 20 November, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Read more…