Amid simmering territorial conflicts across the Western Pacific, specifically between China and its neighbours in the South and East China Seas, coupled with China rising to the rank of top trading partner with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Obama administration has been hard-pressed to re-assert its strategic footprint in the region.
China’s early-May decision to dispatch the state-of-the-art oil rig, HYSY981,
into Vietnam’s 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), has intensified ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea, raising fears of uncontrolled military escalation in one of the world’s most important waterways.
Amid growing uncertainties over U.S. commitment to Asia, as multiple flashpoints in Eastern Europe and the Middle East continue to consume global attention, President Barack Obama took a long-awaited trip
(Apr. 23-29) to Asia, where he visited leading allies in North- and Southeast Asia.
After a year of futile diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the South China Sea disputes, the Philippines has risked permanent estrangement with China by pressing ahead with an unprecedented arbitration case before a United Nations court at The Hague, while ironing out a new security pact with the U.S.
Dissatisfied with the Philippines’ response to the 2010 Manila hostage crisis, which led to the death of eight Hong Kong residents and injuries to seven others, authorities took the unprecedented decision late January to impose travel restrictions against Filipino officials. The restrictions took effect Feb. 5.
After two years of intensive negotiations, the Philippine government and the country’s largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have signed a final peace agreement, which paves the way for a lasting resolution of one of the world’s longest-running intra-state conflicts.
After two decades of aggressively privatising its public services, the Philippines is beginning to realise the cost of mindless market reforms.
In a move that promises to further raise geopolitical tensions in the region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a high-profile visit to the Yasukuni Shrine associated with 14 Class-A war criminals and dedicated to 2.5 million soldiers from the Japanese Imperial era.
Since his rise to power in late 2012, China’s President Xi Jinping has managed to consolidate his control swiftly over the three pillars of the Chinese political system, the state bureaucracy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the military. In response, many neighbouring countries cautiously welcomed a more self-confident and stable leadership in Beijing, hoping the new Chinese president will display greater flexibility on outstanding regional issues.
After months of rising tensions over disputed territories in the South China Sea, there are growing signs that the Philippine government is seeking to revive strained relations with Beijing. And no less than the Philippine President Benigno Aquino is spearheading the ongoing efforts to diplomatically resolve territorial disputes and prevent a disastrous conflict in the region.
As the U.S. struggles with a weeks-long government shutdown which has threatened the country’s economic recovery and forced President Barack Obama to cancel a series of high-stakes visits to Asia, China has instead taken the centre-stage, boosting ties with Asian neighbours and promising multi-billion trade and investment deals.
Under the reformist leadership of President Benigno Aquino III who has placed “good governance” initiatives at the heart of his administration’s agenda, the Philippines has enjoyed an unprecedented period of economic revival and political stability.
With the administration of Philippines President Benigno Aquino III devoting much of its political capital to resolving the conflict in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, which has claimed around 150,000 lives over decades, many came to believe in the genuine possibility of a new era of stability and economic prosperity in the region.
With little sign of a meaningful diplomatic breakthrough on the South China Sea horizons, coupled with a dangerous escalation between Vietnam and China in the disputed waters, the Philippines has faced an added crisis over the Malaysian state of Sabah.
After almost two decades of non-stop negotiations, and two years of intense U.S. opposition, the much-delayed and controversial 7.5 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan pipeline is well on its track to full operation in the next 15 months.