Asia

The U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty and Philippine External Defense Forces

On the face of it, the Philippines’ security situation is somewhat puzzling. The country has a mutual defense treaty with the United States, the world’s strongest military power. Yet, China regularly intrudes into what the Philippines claims as its...

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A Sea Change Brewing over the Taiwan Strait?

One of the most impressive developments over the course of President Joseph Biden’s recent summits with foreign leaders has been the consistent attention on the Taiwan Strait. The first joint statement to include such language occurred during the April...

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Hot and Cold: The Philippines’ Relations with China (and the United States)

In spring 2021, hundreds of Chinese fishing boats gathered at several South China Sea islets, most notably at Whitsun Reef, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Worried that China might use the boats, which were suspected of being part...

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ASEAN’s Search for a Third Way: Southeast Asia’s Relations with China and the United States

Stung by Southeast Asian criticism of Chinese behavior in the South China Sea at the 2010 ASEAN Regional Forum, China’s then-Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi curtly remarked to his Singaporean counterpart: “China is a big country and other countries are...

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Taiwan and the Future of its International Participation Efforts

On May 24, the World Health Assembly began its annual meeting, again focusing on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And again, for the fifth straight year, Taiwan has been excluded from participating as an observer despite significant international support. Last...

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China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Capability in the South China Sea

In August 2020, China fired what were reported to be anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) into the South China Sea. The missile firings were the second time that China launched such missiles into the disputed waters. The first occurred in...

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China’s Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Capability in the South China Sea

Detecting, identifying, and tracking ships at sea are among the most fundamental intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks that any country must perform if it wants to exert control over a maritime area—a goal China has long sought to...

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The U.S.-Japan Summit: Uneventful and Indecisive

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s summit with U.S. President Joseph Biden was awaited with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety in at least four capitals: Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, and Taipei. Both the United States and Japan have concerns about...

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Palm Oil: Malaysian Economic Interests and Foreign Relations

The relative importance of the factors that drive Malaysian foreign policy has long been opaque. Historically, decisions have been made within a small coterie of senior officials and without much debate or discussion of their policy options in civil...

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Biden Takes on China

Future historians may well consider President Joseph Biden’s recent comments on China as a pivotal moment in the history of American foreign policy. It was not long ago—early in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary process—that Biden dismissed the idea...

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