South China Sea

April 2, 2017
China is a burgeoning great power. It is continually figuring out the various dimensions of power – not least of which is power in cyberspace – and putting them to use.
April 2, 2017
China continues to deploy military equipment to contested islands in the South China Sea, raising concerns among regional players and U.S. forces stationed in the Pacific.   
January 31, 2017
President Donald Trump and his cabinet are now responsible for U.S. policy on one of Asia’s most contentious regions: The South China Sea.
January 31, 2017
Few security challenges are as vexing as the South China Sea. With multiple claimants and murky claims, the contours of the conflict can be difficult to grasp. In recent years, China has used ambiguity, asymmetry, and incrementalism to assert control over parts of the South China Sea.
January 31, 2017
Since China undertook a massive artificial island building program in 2013 with the intention of militarizing the islands, the U.S. has grown increasingly worried about freedom of navigation through this economically important waterway.
December 27, 2016
Compared to China, ISIS amounts to a nasty swarm of gnats.  Compared to China, Russia comes across as a cranky old man (with a shotgun). However, neither ISIS, nor Putin’s Russia, nor any other world power can rival or possibly displace the U.S. as the major power in the world: only China can.
December 27, 2016
Editor’s Note: Over the coming days, The Cipher Brief presents some of our most incisive coverage on key issues of 2016 and a look ahead at what is yet to come in 2017.
October 18, 2016
Since becoming President in June, Rodrigo Duterte has used his forceful personality to take Filipino policy in new directions. For Western allies like the U.S., this has led to confusing public statements that have forced them to question the strength of their partnerships.
October 16, 2016
Chinese rivalry with the U.S. for regional dominance will be central to U.S. East Asia policy for the incoming administration.  China’s aggressive use of economic leverage, its mercantilism and revanchism will continue to complicate U.S.
September 8, 2016
U.S.
September 8, 2016
As the G20 summit in China came to a close, something far more worrisome than Air Force One’s stairway gaff overshadowed the summit. The Philippines announced that eleven Chinese dredging vessels and barges had been observed in the waters off of Scarborough Shoal.
September 8, 2016
In Asia, there is now a “whiff of 1914,” a reference by Australian University Professor Hugh White to the lead up to World War One.
July 31, 2016
Demonstrations in China against the U.S. in the wake of The Hague Court’s ruling against China in the South China Sea are reminiscent of the demonstrations in China when the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 8, 1999. 
July 13, 2016
Although the United States participated in the negotiations that culminated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in 1994, it has not yet ratified the treaty. While it is true that the U.S.
July 7, 2016
Predictions are a tricky business, especially with something as complicated as the outcome of Manila’s arbitration case against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. A tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, will rule on the case on July 12.
July 7, 2016
With a ruling imminent in the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines against China over claims in the South China Sea, officials around Asia are bracing for the results, while analysts are busy handicapping the potential fallout.
July 7, 2016
As the deadline for the landmark international court ruling on the South China Sea territorial dispute draws near, a recent editorial in a Chinese state run newspaper proclaimed that China should prepare for “military confrontation” in
May 6, 2016
China sent a major signal to the U.S. last week, when it turned away the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels from making a routine port call in Hong Kong – the first time in nearly a decade that China has refused entry to an American military ship.
May 6, 2016
China’s President Xi Jinping has committed himself to the country’s development as a maritime power and to protecting its sovereignty. One can reasonably assume that China’s long-term objective in the South China Sea is the establishment of strategic pre-eminence.
May 6, 2016
China’s neighbors are gravely concerned about what they see as a clear and determined strategy being implemented by Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and now Commander in Chief of the People’s Liberation Army.  They believe Xi is committed to leveraging China’s indisputable ec
April 15, 2016
Over the past decade, the Philippines has gradually shifted from an equi-balancing strategy vis-à-vis the United States and China in favor of a more explicit tilt into the American strategic orbit.
April 15, 2016
The newly reinvigorated U.S. – Philippines alliance has assumed a central role in the developing regional strategic competition with China. Less than 25 years ago, the U.S. – Philippine alliance was moribund, with both sides paying no more than lip service to the notion of mutual defense.
April 15, 2016
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced a “…regular periodic presence [in the Philippines] of American forces,” something that has not occurred since the Philippines voted to expel U.S. forces in 1991.
March 2, 2016
As the world pays attention to the recent Chinese militarization of the South China Sea islets, China is establishing a “new normal” with more frequent military and paramilitary presence in the East China Sea.
March 2, 2016
China’s militarization of the South China Sea includes beefing up its military facilities on Woody Island in the Paracel chain – occupied by China but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam – where the Chinese reportedly just deployed eight batteries of its advanced, long-range HQ-9 air defense syste
March 2, 2016
China’s less discussed territorial dispute is one that has the greatest potential for the United States to be drawn into conflict.
January 18, 2016
Understanding China and its future ambitions is a fundamental first step in assessing the U.S.’ options on how to best engage China as an important strategic and economic partner.  We asked former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the CIA John
January 18, 2016
The U.S.
January 18, 2016
The rocky relationship between the U.S. and China was in full view last year, highlighted by President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Navy challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea. Known for his frank comments on current U.S.
January 18, 2016
The United States rebalance to Asia has drawn mixed reviews from members of Congress. Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) discussed with The Cipher Brief the strengths and weaknesses of current U.S. policy towards China. Rep. Bordallo emphasized the need for a strong U.S.
December 2, 2015
Less than a month after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, leaders from 150 nations have convened in the French capital to discuss ways to reduce the effects of climate change on a global scale. The conference is the largest gathering ever of world leaders.
December 2, 2015
One of the critical adverse effects of climate change is the impact it will have on water in terms of both quantity and quality.
December 2, 2015
World political leaders have gathered in Paris this week to negotiate a new universal climate change agreement. There is a need for unified commitment from national governments to cut greenhouse emissions to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming and climate change.
December 2, 2015
In 2014, 19.3 million people were forced to leave their houses and were displaced within their countries due mostly to floods and storms but also to earthquakes and volcano er
October 28, 2015
One country’s patrol is another’s provocation. Chinese state-run media has reacted with outrage to a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing within the 12 nautical mile claim Beijing asserts over five Chinese made, artificial islands.  On Monday, the U.S.S.
October 20, 2015
As President Xi Jinping tours the western world advocating Chinese businesses, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues incrementally asserting dominance over territory in the South China Sea.
October 20, 2015
Republican Congressman Randy Forbes believes China’s assertive behavior in Asia is destabilizing the region. Forbes explained why he takes this position in an interview with The Cipher Brief.
October 20, 2015
The South China Sea is rapidly becoming one of the most dangerous places on earth. Beijing has long claimed most of the sea as its sovereign territory, although neighbors Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan have rival claims.
October 20, 2015
As some Asia energy experts have noted, the South China Sea (SCS) is like a thin donut with a very large hole: all of the hydrocarbons in oil and gas form are located along the periphery, while the large hole in the center, which includes the bulk of islands contested by many countries, has few r
March 1, 2017
The South China and East China Seas present flashpoints for maritime conflict, though the assembled experts at The Cipher Brief’s Georgetown Salon Series could not agree which was a more pressing issue for the United States.
July 12, 2016
Now that the Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China over sovereignty in the South China Sea, Manila should immediately set the tone of what is to follow.
May 12, 2016
Fiery Cross Reef, a contested geographic feature in the South China Sea, is the latest site for the growing maritime tensions between China and the United States.
April 28, 2016
Beijing’s “Great Wall of Sand” in the South China Sea is likely to expand: a recent