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

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment 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 Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs