South China Sea

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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…
Vietnamese protesters might not know what they’ve got till it’s gone. EPA

Looting Chinese factories won’t help the Vietnamese economy

Anti-China protests in Vietnam have attracted world-wide attention over the past few days, as hundreds have been injured and at least 21 killed. The riots were sparked by China drilling for oil in a disputed…
All parties are posturing for influence. Fotopedia

More than a neighbourly dispute awaits Joe Biden in Asia

US Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia next week could not come at a more timely moment. It is the first high level visit since President Obama cancelled his trip during the government shutdown in…
Typhoon Soulik on 12th July 2013 as the storm approaches the coast of Taiwan. NASA

Avoiding annual typhoon catastrophes

Typhoon Soulik struck Taiwan at the beginning of the weekend, killing two people before moving on into Guangdong in southern China, where 300,000 people have already been evacuated. Classed as a category…
The language of cooperation might just be a cordial façade. AAP/Office of the Prime Minister

Predictable lack of progress on the South China Sea

As expected, the dispute over the South China Sea was the most contentious issue at this week’s ASEAN meeting and East Asia Summit. Multilateral dialogue was tense, and ASEAN member states disagreed on…
New president Xi Jinping (centre) flanked by He Guoqiang (left) and Jia Qinglin (right) at the closing ceremony of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing. AAP/How Hwee Young

The more things change: Xi Jinping’s rise won’t alter much for Australia and the region

CHINA IN TRANSITION: As China goes through its secretive but widely anticipated leadership transition, the rest of the world is watching. This week, The Conversation takes an in depth look at the National…
Commodore Frank Bainimarama could learn a lot from China about quashing human rights. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Fiji looks north to China as human rights head south at home

Yesterday’s rapprochement between Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, with the re-establishment of diplomatic ties at High Commissioner level, needs to be seen in the context of other recent events in Fiji’s…
Tony Abbott is seeking credibility on foreign policy issues, but his recent rhetoric on China has done him few favours. AAP

Abbott’s stance on China needs to evolve with the times

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s recent overseas trip to help burnish his international credentials has revealed more of the potential direction of the Coalition’s foreign policy. Following his visit to…
Chinese paramilitary police prepare for a storm in the South China Sea. EPA/str

Toeing the U-shaped line in the South China Sea

The lines traversing the surface of the globe are legal fictions that determine the fates of nations. Nowhere is this truer than in the South China Sea. China’s infamous U-shaped line claims most of this…

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