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Andy Yee | September 14, 2011 | Source: East Asia Forum

At a time when Chinese power is inchoate, Vietnam and the Philippines are becoming increasingly assertive in the South China Sea. China has tried both the ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ approach, and neither has been successful. In the former approach, China showed willingness to negotiate and explore joint development options. At the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bali, China agreed to guidelines proposed by ASEAN to better implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN also pledged to carry out cooperative projects, including joint developments of oil and gas. But the reality is that, without technological expertise, China cannot bring much to the negotiating table. The negotiating dynamics also enable smaller states to band together and involve outside powers, something China wishes to avoid.
Shortly after the negotiations, the Philippines and Vietnam offered exploration contracts to energy companies in the disputed areas. In early August, Jose Layug, Filipino energy undersecretary, confirmed that 15 areas for exploration covering over 100,000 km square, all within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), are up for bids. This is despite China’s People’s Daily having claimed that a few areas fall within Chinese territory, while others are in overlapping territories. Meanwhile, Vietnamese state-owned PetroVietnam is offering nine offshore oil blocks in its 2011 licensing rounds, with many apparently falling within China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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Javad Foronda Heydarian | September 8, 2011 | Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

Recent months have witnessed renewed tensions over disputed territories in the South China Sea. In response to China’s encroaching military maneuvers and the country’s designation of the whole area as part of its indisputable sovereignty, several South East Asian countries have found themselves dangerously vulnerable. A murky legal regime has led to the emergence of a series of overlapping territorial claims in the area, but at the center of tensions are five key-actors: China, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and increasingly the United States.

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Aileen San Pablo Baviera | August 29, 2011 | Source: The Australian National University and The MacArthur Foundation East Asia Security Initiative


Aileen San Pablo Baviera | August 13, 2011 | Source: UP Asian Center International Graduate Students Conference on Asian Security
Aileen San Pablo Baviera | August 7, 2011 | Source: Baviera's Blog on International Relations

Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong are a well-organized and outspoken group, numbering well over 100,000. So well-organized that they have inspired and assisted workers from other Asian countries to follow in their footsteps in seeking better working conditions in the former colony.

Aileen San Pablo Baviera | July 22, 2011 | Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

“China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that’s just a fact,” China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at the 17th Asean Regional Forum in July 2010, after several countries, including the United States, raised concerns on the South China Sea.

This article was originally published by Philippine Daily Inquirer and can be accessed through this link.

Zha Daojiong | July 21, 2011


The annual series of summits in the Asia Pacific has begun. Questions abound about the efficacy of these high-profile meetings. It’s time that China, the United States and Southeast Asia think about collaborating on non-traditional security projects.


Aileen San Pablo Baviera | June 14, 2011 | Source: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)


Recent incidents in the South China Sea point to China’s growing assertiveness and seeming readiness to pressure other countries to recognise its claims. The region urgently needs a Code of Conduct that is specifically designed for the prevention of armed conflict in the disputed areas.


Ernest Bower | April 20, 2011 | Source: East Asia Forum

On April 9, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III stood on the blood stained soil of Bataan province and reminded us of the amazing resilience of the human spirit, the ability to forgive and reconcile and the powerful hope intrinsic to those two facts.

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Javad Foronda Heydarian | December 16, 2010 | Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

The United States is, by far, the Philippines’ most important strategic security partner. China’s ascent as a regional Asia Pacific powerhouse, coupled with the relative decline of the United States, has threatened to reconfigure this equation. Yet China’s growing assertiveness over territorial claims from Northeast Asia to the South China Sea might also unravel the two decades of its relatively successful charm offensive, which calmed the nerves of many anxious Southeast Asian nations.


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