south china sea

Part IV of Me and Van Jackson Debating South Korea’s Role in the South China Sea: N Korea Comes First

Kim Jong Un

This is a cross-post of an essay originally written for the Lowy Institute this week, available here.


Separating China from NK is Worth SKs Silence on the South China Sea

South China Sea

I got this map from here. Very useful. The article below was originally published at the Lowy Institute last week, here.

In short, I don’t mind too much that the Koreans aren’t engaged on the South China Sea freedom of navigation dispute, because keeping their mouths shut and schmoozing the Chinese is necessary to get China to finally cut North Korea loose, which in turn is the only way North Korea will ever collapse. This is why I have never thought much of the criticisms that President Park Geun-Hye is a ‘sinophile.’ If you were South Korea, you would be too. If you lived next to giant China, and they were permanently bailing out your mortal enemy, then sucking up to them (within limits) is a good idea. I am not a big fan of PGH, but she has really gotten the Beijing-Pyongyang nexus right that her predecessors did not. Let her keep flattering Xi Jinping.


PRC’s South China Sea Grab Goes from Sensational to Subtle

Hey, if we put this flag here, there's going to be no room for my house!
Hey, if we put this flag here, there’s going to be no room for my villa!

Whatever your position on what belongs to who in the South China Sea dispute (“East Sea” in Vietnam), you gotta give credit to China for creatively pushing their claim to the whole thing. Well, in their defense, not the whole thing, just around 80%.


The USS George Washington Didn’t Sail In Vain

Countering neo-conservative and paleo-conservative derision about the decline of American power in Northeast Asia, Carlyle A. Thayer argues that American smart power is wearing down Chinese bellicosity in the South China Sea.

US diplomatic initiatives must be placed in the larger context of US-South Korean naval exercises, the prominent surfacing of three Ohio-class submarines armed with conventional Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles in Subic Bay, Busan and Diego Garcia, and the visit of the nuclear carrier George Washington to waters off central Vietnam to mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The view that US primacy is in decline seems premature indeed.


A Chill in Shangra-La

The Next Battleground?Days are when I despair of a peaceful Pacific – pardon the redundancy – and I start seeing portents of an angry futureevidence of a Confucian peace notwithstanding.


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