Assessing Indonesia’s potential presidents’ South China Sea strategies

Aristyo Rizka Darmawan, The Australian National University, for East Asia Forum

The South China Sea strategy of Indonesia's presidential candidates became a focal topic in a recent debate, with the three participants proposing different approaches to this major security issue involving China. Ganjar Pranowo suggested Indonesia should take provisional measures based on the…

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Muscle and mediation set to continue in the South China Sea

Collin Koh Swee Lean, Nanyang Technological University, for East Asia Forum

In 2023, tensions between the Philippines and China heightened, marked by hostile encounters in the South China Sea. Regional tensions were compounded by nations – including Japan, US and Australia – advancing their defence strategies in the region. Yet ASEAN are doing their classic strategic…

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Marcos’ new code of conduct for the South China Sea is a non-starter

Nian Peng, for East Asia Forum

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is seeking to establish a separate code of conduct with Vietnam and Malaysia in the South China Sea. But both these nations are reluctant to provoke China and aim to maintain warm diplomatic relations. Marcos’ call for a new arrangement is unlikely to win…

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Anchoring the U.S.-Philippines Alliance

Jeffrey Ordaniel, for Pacific Forum

The U.S.- Philippine Alliance has advanced significantly over the past two years. The period of transition, from Duterte to Marcos, and the renewed American commitment to the Indo-Pacific under Joe Biden were key determinants. Institutionalizing this progress in ways that allow the alliance to…

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What exactly is Australia’s strategy of denial meant to do?

Richard Dunley, for ASPI The Strategist

The 2023 defence strategic review has been broadly welcomed across the Australian strategic policy commentariat. The reasons for that, and the analysis of what it means, however, are oddly diverse. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles in his opening statement frames it as ‘the…

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Beijing’s strong-arming of the Philippines plays right into Washington’s hands

Greg Poling and Jude Blanchette, for ASPI The Strategist

On 22 October, two separate collisions took place near Second Thomas Shoal, an underwater feature that an international tribunal in 2016 ruled is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. A China Coast Guard ship rammed a much smaller civilian vessel contracted by the…

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Safe shipping: a forgotten aspect of maritime security in the Pacific

Heather Wrathall and Kate Archer, for ASPI The Strategist

Maritime security is a broad concept that spans several domains. Traditionally it has focused on defence, state-based military threats, and the protection of national interests and sovereignty at sea. Less attention has been paid to some of the wider aspects of maritime security that have less…

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Scientific collaboration could ease tensions in the South China Sea

David Hessen, South China Sea NewsWire, for East Asia Forum

The South China Sea region has long been home to tensions driven by disputes over territory and control over resources. Local policymakers should respond by reinforcing bilateral relationships along the basis of scientific cooperation. A new survey suggests a path towards de-escalation built upon…

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ASEX-01N strengthens the intra-ASEAN military landscape

Collin Koh, NTU, for East Asia Forum

In September 2023, Southeast Asia witnessed a series of high-intensity joint military training exercises concentrated around the South China Sea. This included the Indonesian and US-led Super Garuda Shield exercise and the Amphibious and Land Operation exercise held by the Philippines, Australia…

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