The recent summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) could produce a Chinese nod to the implementation of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (SCS) by 2021.
The Shangri-La dialogue ended without much reassurance about the heightening tensions between superpowers China and the US in South China Sea, leaving it as a hotbed of contestations.
Taiwan declared it will continue its “humanitarian” search and rescue work in South China Sea, where it possesses the largest of some 500 islets.
The spate of events in Asean is one of disarray. While each member of Asean country pledges to keep the region away from the intrusion of big powers, instead contestation festers within.
With China’s continual muscle flexing in the region, another power comes into play, India. New Delhi cannot be any more important to Southeast Asia than it is now.
The flurry of recent military activities in South China Sea and around the region appears to indicate an arms race build-up in the region.
The three David’s have one thing in common, that is they need safe passage in South China Sea. To the US, Japan, and China, the South China Sea continue to be of strategic importance to them to let their little differences stand in the way.
The US appears to be taking a backseat in world affairs with President Trump declaring that as a nation, it is not going to allow itself to be exploited.