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 Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs