News / Asia

    China Moves Prompt Closer Ties Among Neighbors

    FILE - Screen grab shows Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near the site of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.
    FILE - Screen grab shows Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near the site of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.

    The Philippines this week backed the Japanese prime minister's push for a broader military mandate - the latest move among China's maritime neighbors to unite against China's increasing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas.

    As Beijing continues to assert a vast territorial claim in the South China Sea, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are strengthening their military and diplomatic bonds.

    Ely Ratner, of the U.S.-based Center for a New American Security, says the three are overlooking historic conflicts with each other in reaction to China's sustained aggressive reach.

    "There's no doubt that countries in the region are collectively spooked by what they're seeing as an increased pattern of Chinese assertiveness from the East China Sea down through the South China Sea," he said.

    Regional Reactions

    It's been a tense past two months. In May, China moved an oil rig into waters that Vietnam claims. A few weeks later, Vietnamese and Philippine troops spent a day socializing on a disputed island - neither asserting dominance, but both unified in their resistance to China's encroaching power.

    Then, during a state visit to Japan earlier this week, Philippine President Benigno Aquino publicly supported Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to broaden the Japanese military mandate to allow Tokyo to aid allies who are attacked.

    "Japan is a strategic partner of the Philippines," Aquino said. "It is thus incumbent upon us to have continuous dialogue as we jointly face the changing dynamics of our regional security environment."

    To expand the military’s mandate, Abe must first get his party’s coalition partner New Komeito on board.

    But nearly two-thirds of Japanese voters oppose a reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution, according to a poll released in April by Japan's leading newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

    “There is a problem I think Prime Minister Abe has in selling this to his own people, and then of course explaining it to the region,” says Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

    Meanwhile Tokyo, along with the United States, has pledged to help Vietnam and the Philippines upgrade their maritime patrol ships.  

    No Backing Down

    But China shows no signs of backing down. At meeting in Myanmar in May, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told regional counterparts his country wants a negotiated solution in the South China Sea, but multilateralism can't solve the problem.

    And that position isn't likely to change, according to Glaser.

    "The Chinese believe that other nations are so economically dependent on China that these other nations will not directly confront China or not do so for a long period and at the end of the day will accommodate to Chinese interests so the Chinese think that they have time on their side," she said.

    Ratner says Beijing may be miscalculating.

    "I think people often think, 'Well, war isn't possible in Asia or conflict isn't possible because these economies are so interdependent,’" he said.  "But when it comes to these passionate political issues and nationalism, often those considerations get thrown out the door."

    After all, Ratner noted, Germany and England were vital trading partners before World War I.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 26, 2014 2:42 PM
    Let's not forget that Philippines, Japan and ROK remain occupied by the US military, so they aren't really in a position to call their own shots.

    by: Ben from: USA
    June 26, 2014 2:10 PM
    So what do you do? support the lesser of two evils? and who is the lesser evil?

    by: Raselon from: Saudi Arabia
    June 26, 2014 2:11 AM
    China is a big liar and bully and assumes that her military might is the answer to her aggressive and illegal acts on the contested territories. China's national motto is: Cheat, lie, steal and occupy.

    by: People from: Vietnam
    June 25, 2014 8:14 PM
    Vietnam is one of the most oppressive societies in Southeast Asia today.

    It is ok to help but it is not good to trust Vietnam, the country is being controlled by the Vietnamese Communist GANG.
    The GANG and GANG members are rich, the country and the people are poor; and the Vietnamese Communist GANG and GANG members don't give a damn about the country or the people of Vietnam.

    by: So So from: US
    June 25, 2014 6:21 PM
    I agree, China will not back down.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora