The recent flare-up of tensions between Indonesia and China over fishing in the south-central South China Sea will not be the turning point in ASEAN-China relations many predict.
South China Sea
Set against the backdrop of the US-China trade war and increasing tensions in the South China Sea, the 35th ASEAN Summit saw regional leaders push for increased unity to meet regional challenges.
Since taking office, President Duterte has eschewed traditional allies in favour of a pivot towards Beijing. Three years into his term, there are few tangible signs that it was a worthwhile endeavour.
China is trying to manipulate international dispute resolution mechanisms to sew confusion and further its economic interests in the South China Sea. Its diplomatic and military activities are pushing the region closer to the brink of conflict.
In 1967, few expected ASEAN to succeed. The bloc’s ability to put aside the differences of member states has been its greatest asset. It needs to remember this when addressing new challenges.
Political tensions in the South China Sea are creating an environmental disaster. Can claimants put aside their differences and tackle environmental threats before fishing stocks collapse?
ASEAN leaders will convene in Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN summit this week. Making progress towards an effective Code of Conduct on the South China Sea should top the agenda.
US-Chinese trade has traditional kept relations cordial between the two powers. Under Trump, this is changing.
The recent draft text for a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea only further exposes the vast divide between the parties.
The Philippines outlined its red lines. If China crosses them, it is adamant it will go to war. What will this mean for the world’s most dangerous conflict?