HANOI – A new three-way dispute has broken into the open in the South China Sea, one that brings two Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) members into conflict along with China over coveted energy resources.
Malaysia, Vietnam and China have for weeks been locked in a quiet naval standoff in a disputed southwestern area of the sea, marking a new source of acrimony in ASEAN and Beijing’s latest bid to block Southeast Asian claimants from tapping the maritime area’s rich bounty of oil and gas.
“A closer look at the significance of a development that has long been in the works.
A previous photo of U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam. Credit: Flickr
This week, a U.S. aircraft carrier will make a port call in Vietnam’s coastal city of Da Nang – just the second visit of its kind since the end of the Vietnam War, following the first in early 2018. Though the move has long been in the works and is just a single engagement, it nonetheless bears noting given its significance for U.S.-Vietnam ties and Washington’s regional approach more generally.
For several weeks starting in late December, Indonesian media was dominated by reports of a flotilla of Chinese fishing and coast guard vessels operating without permission in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The situation strained bilateral relations, presented President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo with the first foreign policy crisis of his second term, and forced Indonesia to confront the uncomfortable fact that it is a party to the South China Sea disputes even if it does not claim any contested islands or reefs. But the public reporting from Indonesian officials was also contradictory and incomplete, leaving the scale and timeline of the standoff unclear.
In addition to standard aircraft carrier and warship patrol operations in the open sea, naval action during the Vietnam War developed a character of its own. While the U.S. Navy maintained responsibility for more traditional functions, the interior waterways of Vietnam became an area of operations that required a different approach.
Since the early 20-century, the patrol workhorse of the U.S. Navy had been the destroyer, which rose to prominence during the two world wars. Destroyers provided perimeter security for formations of surface ships, anti-submarine and antiaircraft defenses, and search-and-rescue duties among others. These warships rendered invaluable service; however, during the Vietnam War the ocean-going vessels were unsuited for operations along the deltas, coastal areas, and rivers of the country.
This year marks one of the most important years for ASEAN’s geopolitical landscape. During the plenary session of the 34th ASEAN Summit in June, all member states agreed to adopt the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The brief five-page document emphasised the ASEAN led mechanism in dealing with strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region. It could not be denied that one of the most important ongoing issues in the region is still the South China Sea dispute, so will the Outlook help to solve the ongoing dispute?
Five claimants occupy nearly 70 disputed reefs and islets spread across the South China Sea. They have built more than 90 outposts on these contested features, many of which have seen expansion in recent years. AMTI has gathered satellite imagery of each outpost, along with other relevant information, to document their current status and any changes they have undergone in recent years. Explore the database below.
Tuần này, truyền thông loan tin rằng Campuchia có thể đã bí mật ký thỏa thuận cho phép Trung Quốc sử dụng căn cứ hải quân Ream, đồng thời một dự án quy mô khác ở Dara Sakor cũng bị nghi ngờ là nhằm phục vụ mục đích quân sự.
The Chinese survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 along with its coast guard and paramilitary escorts left Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone on October 23, ending a standoff with Vietnamese ships that began more than four months earlier. The de-escalation seems to have been in response to the departure a day earlier of the drilling rig Hakuryu 5 from Vietnam’s oil and gas Block 06-01, which is operated by Russia’s Rosneft.
Les États-Unis fourniront au Vietnam un autre navire pour renforcer sa capacité de patrouiller dans ses eaux territoriales, a annoncé mercredi le secrétaire d’Etat américain à la Défense, Mark Esper, en visite de travail dans le pays de l’Asie du Sud-Est.
Cette déclaration d’Esper intervient dans un contexte marqué par des tensions grandissantes entre Hanoï et Pékin sur fond de leur différend territorial en mer de l’Est (mer de Chine méridionale).