In his statement at the White House in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a commitment not to militarise the artificial islands China built in the South China Sea. Observers wondered how China defined the term ‘militarisation’. And it is this lack of clarity helping to fuel speculation over Beijing’s strategic ambitions.
The Trump administration appears eager to change its position frequently, keeping both friends and adversaries on their toes. The snag is that, at least for the moment, allies are more rattled than potential enemies.
A great deal of rhetoric is expended over China’s gigantic investment initiatives. Still, many of the economic projects are real, and Western governments will be well advised to understand their purpose.
President Xi Jinping is attempting to modernise China’s military through wide-ranging reforms. But the reforms are also intended to once again bring the military under the absolute rule of the Communist Party.
China’s determination to gain control or assert its possession over various remote islands in its adjacent seas may seem inexplicable. But there is a perfect logic to what China is doing – much of this relates to the way the country’s communists seek to bolster their domestic legitimacy
China has advanced a number of arguments to justify its decision to ignore the arbitral tribunal’s recent ruling on the South China Sea dispute. None of them make much legal sense, but all raise questions about China’s views of the international order.
The ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the dispute with the Philippines over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea (SCS) went against China. Immediately China labelled the tribunal as ‘law abusing’, calling the decision ‘ill founded’. Although expected, the reaction is yet another indication that sovereignty is increasingly becoming part of Chinese ‘core interest’ on which...
Following the technical ruling in favour of the Philippines by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and with China increasingly flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, the EU is trying to balance supporting the rule of law with a pragmatic desire to maintain good relations with Beijing.
US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that the US will lift its embargo on exporting defence equipment to Vietnam grants Hanoi comprehensive access to the US defence market. Questions remain however, over the country’s readiness for the international defence market.