South China Sea

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Purportedly Chinese dredging vessels are building up land around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea last year. U.S. Navy via Reuters

Troubled waters: conflict in the South China Sea explained

China is building artificial islands in the South China Sea to exert its military and commercial power. Can conflict with the U.S. be avoided?
EPA/Mast Irham

Malcolm in the Middle Kingdom

Before European imperialism fatally undermined China’s own dynastic system, it was customary for China’s neighbours to acknowledge its dominance by sending tribute missions to the imperial court. While…
Defence Minister Marise Payne inherited a draft of the defence white paper last year, but wanted to put her own stamp on it. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Defence white paper: an extra $29.9 billion spending over a decade

The defence white paper will pledge an additional $29.9 billion in defence spending over the coming decade and support for businesses to innovate in areas such as cyber security and aeronautics.
US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter observes the destroyer USS Lassen in the South China Sea. US Navy

US and Chinese tempers rise in the South China Sea

By sailing a destroyer close to an artificial island in the South China Sea, the US is challenging China's claim to the waterway. At stake are trade routes worth billions of dollars.
EPA/CJ Gunther

China goes ballistic

China’s not happy. Normally that sort of phrase is pretty meaningless. Clearly not everyone in China has the same view on anything – with the possible exception of its territorial claims in the South China…
Australia’s traditional reliance on multilateralism and alliances won’t be enough to negotiate the geopolitical rivalries of the Asian century. EPA/Barbara Walton

In Australia’s third century after European settlement, we must rethink our responses to a new world

For the past two centuries, Australia got many of the big calls on global engagement right. In our third century, there are worrying signs that we have not fully grasped what the rise of Asia means.
EPA/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Is China playing a long game in the South China Sea?

China’s construction of new islands in the South China Sea has attracted a great deal of entirely predictable criticism and controversy. Surely no-one connected with this decision can be surprised at this…
Defence department secretary Dennis Richardson has described Australia’s relationship with the US and Chinas as friends with both, allies with one. AAP/Lukas Coch

Defence secretary warns of China’s ‘unprecedented’ land reclamation activity in South China Sea

Regional changes will eventually raise questions about whether Australia's defence needs can be met with a spending level of 2% of GDP, Defence Department secretary Dennis Richardson has said.
A Chinese government image of soldiers on one of the built-up Spratly islands. mod.gov.cn

Exposing US hypocrisy on South China Sea island reclamation

The US is considering using warships and helicopters to pressure China into scaling back construction in the Spratly islands. But why is there one rule for China, and another for other nations?
A Filipino soldier patrols the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The US is considering sending aircrafts and warships to patrol the disputed area, which is claimed by China and four other Southeast Asian countries. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO / POOL

US patrol in South China Sea may stop China’s mischief in disputed waters

The US is considering naval patrols of disputed parts of the South China Sea in response to China's creation of artificial islands. Other nations with claims may welcome a temporary US presence.
China’s neighbours have accused it of destroying an estimated 120 hectares of coral reef systems in the disputed Spratly Islands through land reclamation. EPA/Armed Forces of the Philippines

Why the world is wary of China’s ‘great wall of sand’ in the sea

China's island-building activities in the South China Sea play well to a nationalistic domestic audience and aim to reinforce its territorial and maritime claims in a potentially resource-rich area.
Powerful waves of nationalist sentiment have endured since the second world war and continue to pose difficulties for the leaders of Japan and China. EPA/Kim Kyung-Hoon

War anniversary promises year of difficulty for Asia’s rival powers

The fog of the second world war and the murkiness of the post-war settlement laid the contours of Asia's complex and uncertain strategic landscape.
A special relationship Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

America’s great gamble on China

President Obama arrived in Beijing Monday to participate in this week’s meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. He will have talks with China’s president Xi Jinping on the fringes…

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