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.
Victoria Macchi

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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid