ASEAN, China To Adopt Code for ‘Unplanned Encounters At Sea’

By Manuel Mogato (Reuters) Southeast Asian countries and China will establish hotlines and adopt communications protocols to avoid potential naval clashes in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, a Philippines foreign ministry official said on Friday. The protocols will be signed in Laos next week, when heads of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations … [Read more...]

Hague Court to Rule in July on Challenge to China’s Sea Claims

By David Tweed (Bloomberg) -- An international court will rule next month on the validity of China’s claims to a large swath of one of the world’s busiest and most disputed waterways. The court will release its decision on the South China Sea on July 12, first to the parties involved and then to observer states, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said in a … [Read more...]

China’s Missile Move Sparks Questions on South China Sea Plans

By David Tweed (Bloomberg) -- China sparked new questions about its intentions in the South China Sea after it deployed surface-to- air missiles to a contested island, a move that came just months after President Xi Jinping promised not to militarize the disputed atolls. Satellite images showed two batteries of eight HQ-9 surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar … [Read more...]

U.S. Touts ‘Batman’ Destroyer as Obama Courts Asean Leaders

By David Tweed and Toluse Olorunnipa (Bloomberg) -- U.S. officials are looking to superheroes in their quest to preserve Asia’s postwar security order in the face of an increasingly assertive China. “If Batman had a ship, this’d be it,” Admiral Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, told a crowd of Asia specialists in Washington last month as he pointed to a slide of … [Read more...]

China Says Island Building Protects Distant Reefs

By David Tweed (Bloomberg) - China refuted claims it is militarizing the disputed South China Sea, saying it needs to build facilities on artificial islands and reefs to protect them. “As the islands and reefs are far from China’s mainland it is necessary to maintain and build necessary military facilities,” Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said at a briefing in … [Read more...]