The upcoming U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will remove the most formidable obstacle to total Taliban takeover of the country. China is set to benefit significantly if the Taliban come to power again. It is worth following this dynamic closely in the coming weeks and months.
Jul 22, 2021 Foreign Policy
Nearly six months into Joe Biden's presidency, it is now possible to begin assessing the effectiveness of some of his administration's policies. When it comes to Southeast Asia, the Biden administration has thus far fallen short, but the future looks relatively bright with certain caveats.
Jul 6, 2021 Nikkei Asia
Improving China-Indonesia relations could have profound geostrategic significance for the United States. Washington may want to focus on assistance that would benefit Indonesia itself, not just the United States in its competition with China.
Jun 7, 2021 Foreign Policy
Democracies are supposed to get along. But that has not always been the case for the United States and India. From New Delhi's perspective, there are significant irritants in U.S.-India ties. Any of these could derail an otherwise positive relationship.
May 21, 2021 Times of India
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has time and again underscored his anti-U.S. and pro-Chinese orientation. Duterte now recognizes, in spite of his continued rhetoric to the contrary, that China is no friend.
May 6, 2021 Foreign Policy
The Biden administration has argued that the United States must strengthen its Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to compete more successfully with China. Will Washington prioritize national interests or national values?
May 3, 2021 Nikkei Asia
After four years of steadily strengthening U.S.-Vietnam security relations under the Trump administration, the presidential transition to Joe Biden naturally carries some measure of uncertainty for Hanoi. Early signs from the Biden administration, however, are extremely positive for Vietnam.
Mar 16, 2021 The Diplomat
The prospects of a U.S.-China reset are rapidly fading, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. Beijing has refused to change its own assertive behavior. And all signs thus far point to a Biden administration that plans to take an exceptionally hard line against China.
Mar 15, 2021 Nikkei Asia
It's an open secret that Taiwan welcomed the Trump administration's policy to significantly strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations, and it was jittery about the transition to the Biden administration. Early indications, however, are that the Biden team appears poised to opt for a stronger relationship with Taiwan as set forth under the Trump administration.
Feb 5, 2021 Nikkei Asia
Although there are valid reasons to question the trajectory of U.S.-Vietnam relations in the coming years, the overwhelming momentum is positive and is likely to stay that way. Any frictions that arise will probably be handled diplomatically to avoid greater damage to the relationship. But of course, nothing is guaranteed.
Feb 1, 2021 The Diplomat
Certainly there is much work ahead as the United States embarks on the next chapter of competition against China throughout the Indo-Pacific. But U.S. alliances and partnerships are in good shape—the result of a growing Indo-Pacific consensus on the existential economic and security threat China poses.
Jan 11, 2021 Nikkei Asia
Over the last few years, tensions between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea have remained high. While the Biden administration is likely to continue positive momentum in bilateral ties, it is less clear what specifically Hanoi seeks from Washington to help it effectively deter Beijing.
Jan 4, 2021 The Diplomat
Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.
Dec 30, 2020 Observer Research Foundation
Joe Biden's win in the U.S. presidential election is causing thinly veiled heartburn in Taipei. But concerns that the incoming Biden administration might rethink Taiwan policy in favor of better relations with China are probably misguided.
Dec 15, 2020 South China Morning Post
The election of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 raised concerns around Washington that he would undermine and perhaps even undo the U.S.-Philippines alliance in favor of closer ties with China. More than four years on, however, Manila continues to prioritize Washington over Beijing.
Dec 2, 2020 The Diplomat
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may be poised to reverse many of President Donald Trump's policies, but one that is very likely to remain is the Indo-Pacific strategy. Any changes will probably be stylistic rather than substantive.
Nov 30, 2020 Nikkei Asia
No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, the outcome is unlikely to impact the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy in any significant way. Bipartisan agreement in Washington to counter and compete with China makes clear that the United States will continue to push back against Beijing.
Nov 2, 2020 Nikkei Asia
The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.
Nov 2, 2020 The Diplomat
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) may be on the verge of fragmentation, and if it happens, the consequences for U.S.-China geostrategic competition could be significant. A divided PIF would likely present several opportunities and challenges for China and the United States as their competition ramps up in Oceania.
Oct 14, 2020 The Diplomat
Amid escalating competition, China and the United States are actively shoring up their diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Compared to the United States, China's friends are certainly not as numerous, nor are they as reliable. That is a major challenge for Beijing.
Oct 12, 2020 Nikkei Asia
The 1992 Consensus is an agreement between the Kuomintang opposition party in Taiwan and mainland Chinese authorities on the existence of only “One China.” Maintaining the 1992 Consensus as the cornerstone of the Kuomintang's platform has not helped the party's cause, and more importantly, has probably done the opposite.
Sep 25, 2020 The Diplomat
The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy has received a significant boost in recent months toward achieving its goal of keeping the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. Ironically, China itself has been doing the boosting.
Sep 14, 2020 Nikkei Asian Review
The United States has deep and abiding interests in the Second Island Chain. But China's growing influence in the region could complicate U.S. plans. Washington will almost certainly seek to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific Island states in the Second Island Chain and bolster defensive positions on U.S. territories in the region.
Sep 8, 2020 The Diplomat
HHS Secretary Alex Azar's August 9th visit to Taiwan should be celebrated by Taipei and Washington as it presents the latest evidence that bilateral relations are significantly strengthening. But Taiwan should view the United States' moves to bolster bilateral ties with some measure of trepidation. U.S. objectives with Taiwan over the past few years remain unclear.
Aug 21, 2020 South China Morning Post
The South China Sea is where the rubber meets the road for U.S.-Vietnam security ties, and in this regard, Hanoi has gone as far as it is comfortable. Washington should expect Vietnam to continue seeking balance between China, which has economic and military superiority over it, and the United States, which can help offset Chinese power.
Aug 5, 2020 The Diplomat
What has been striking about the Quad thus far is that it has resisted openly identifying China as the primary target it seeks to rein in. If the Quad is to be sustained, then it will likely have to come to grips with a forward-leaning approach to opposing Chinese activities.
Jul 28, 2020 The Wire
When the Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to become their next president in May 2016, China saw a distinct opportunity to pull the longtime U.S. ally away from Washington and into Beijing's strategic orbit. But it remains to be seen how the long-term geopolitical competition between the United States and China over the Philippines will play out.
Jul 22, 2020 The Diplomat
Some argue that Beijing's aggression at the China-India border is part of an attempt to exploit the pandemic. But it may simply be a continuation of China's threatening behavior in the Indo-Pacific, which began before COVID-19 started to spread.
Jul 6, 2020 The Diplomat
China hailed Philippines President Duterte's announcement in February of an end to the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in six months as evidence the United States was losing the great power competition with China in the Indo-Pacific. But on June 2, Duterte decided to postpone the VFA termination, breathing new life into the decades-long agreement.
Jun 18, 2020 The Diplomat
For nearly 30 years, China has routinely touted Taiwan's recognition of the 1992 Consensus as the sole basis for maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. However, the consensus may hold less relevance for both sides today than in the past.
Jun 3, 2020 The Diplomat
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to monopolize the attention of leaders around the world, some international observers of China have concluded that Beijing is attempting to exploit the crisis for geopolitical gain. The reality is that China has been engaging in the same types of pressure tactics for years and will likely continue once the pandemic passes.
May 20, 2020 World Politics Review
Once again, Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise. Vietnam has publicly protested each Chinese move, but these statements have yet to alter Beijing's bad behavior. Among its many options, Hanoi could look to Washington for further assistance.
May 4, 2020 The Diplomat
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would terminate the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Washington and Manila have until August 9 to save it or negotiate a new VFA to avert any further alliance crisis.
May 4, 2020 Foreign Policy
The “Quad” countries met with several non-Quad countries to help each other amid the coronavirus pandemic. For all the good that can come of these countries working together, the Quad Plus, if sustained, may eventually jeopardize the Quad's primary mission: to counter China's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
Apr 9, 2020 The Diplomat
China's armed fishing militia plays an instrumental role in Beijing's strategy to enforce its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Why did Beijing create a maritime militia to begin with and how has it evolved over time? What does this history suggest about its future?
Apr 6, 2020 Maritime Issues
In early March, the United States sent an aircraft carrier to Da Nang, Vietnam, in a display of goodwill and deepening security ties between the former adversaries. China is well aware of U.S.–Vietnam moves, and yet its public reaction to the USS Theodore Roosevelt can be summed up in one word: unfazed.
Mar 19, 2020 The Diplomat
In February, the island of Chuuk postponed a referendum vote on secession from the Federated States of Micronesia. At least for the time being, Chuuk's decision is a significant victory in the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security competition with China in the Pacific Islands.
Mar 6, 2020 The Diplomat
Hong Kong and Macau live under “one country, two systems,” and China aspires to include Taiwan in the future as well. But President Tsai Ing-wen's landslide re-election in Taiwan on January 11 resoundingly demonstrates that the arrangement is dead on arrival there.
Feb 13, 2020 The Diplomat
China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea in December when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands. What drove Beijing to stake out its sovereignty claims against Indonesia at this particular time? And what can Indonesia and other regional neighbors expect of Chinese behavior going forward?
Jan 16, 2020 World Politics Review
Vietnam's latest defense white paper is full of warnings to China and opportunities for the United States. Washington needs to reassure Vietnam that the United States is committed to the relationship by deepening existing military exchanges, which will give Vietnam greater confidence to stand up to China when the time comes.
Dec 31, 2019 War on the Rocks
While many issues warrant attention in 2020, two that should be near the top of Asia-watchers' lists are Taiwan and Vietnam. Both are on the front lines of Chinese coercion, and their ability to respond, either with or without American support, will set the tone in the Indo-Pacific well beyond 2020.
Dec 30, 2019 South China Morning Post
China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.
Dec 9, 2019 ChinaFile
Whatever fate awaits Hong Kong, recent trends leave little reason for optimism. It is becoming an increasingly violent and polarized place that might prompt Chinese military action, and the crisis has opened a new wound in U.S.–China relations. The best hope is that the recent election reminds all sides why Hong Kong is worth saving.
Nov 27, 2019 The Hill
With the standoff between China and Vietnam at the disputed Vanguard Bank ended, it makes sense to take stock of how Hanoi's security strategy fared in countering Chinese coercion. It may be time for Vietnam to consider a careful recalibration to allow for more “struggle” and less “cooperation.”
Nov 15, 2019 The Diplomat
Rebuilding trust between the residents of Hong Kong and their government will be an extremely difficult task. But with some reasonable compromises on both sides, Hong Kong has the opportunity to step back from the brink of disaster.
Oct 23, 2019 Foreign Policy
With the decisions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to recognize Beijing over Taipei, the list of Taiwan's official diplomatic partners has decreased to 15. But China is likely to have a difficult time eliminating Taiwan's presence diplomatically in the Pacific.
Oct 3, 2019 The Hill
Beijing may believe that, eventually, Taiwanese politics will turn in its favor. But it should consider experiences from the other two territories currently living under the formula—Hong Kong and Macau—to better understand why “one country, two systems” will never work in Taiwan, regardless of politics.
Sep 12, 2019 South China Morning Post
In the geo-strategically vital region of the Freely Associated States (FAS), China is increasingly competing with the United States for influence. The United States and its allies and partners will need to engage not only with economic aid, but also with other issues including health, economic development, natural disasters, climate change and illegal fishing to sustain a strong partnership with the FAS.
Sep 3, 2019 East Asia Forum
What can Vietnam do now to make Chinese assertiveness against it less likely going forward? Although deepening the U.S.-Vietnam defense partnership in the short-term may be contributing to trouble with China, closer cooperation in the long-run could serve to deter China. Enhancing cooperation with Vietnam's other defense partners—namely Australia, Japan, and India—could help to deter Beijing as well.
Aug 19, 2019 Maritime Issues
President Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Un prompted voluminous commentary about whether Pyongyang might adopt the “Vietnam model” of economic reform and opening up, known as doi moi. Some version of doi moi is not impossible in North Korea, but it will likely be more difficult than it was in Vietnam and made all the more so by Kim's reluctance to risk losing absolute control.
Aug 12, 2019 38 North
Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.
Jul 3, 2019 The Hill
The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's “one country, two systems” policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.
Jun 21, 2019 Foreign Policy
China's last major war experience gave it virtually zero lessons to apply to future armed conflict. At some point the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA's crosshairs.
May 15, 2019 The Diplomat
It is likely that Taipei will lose diplomatic allies unless a cross-Strait agreement is reached on the 1992 Consensus. But it is perhaps equally inevitable that Taiwan will convince at least one or more states to recognize Taiwan over China. Such a development would help counter the narrative that Taiwan sovereignty is doomed.
Mar 21, 2019 The National Interest
The United States has been consistent in discussing the security objectives it seeks to promote through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. But U.S. interactions with other Quad partners have likely convinced Washington to repackage public presentation of the dialogue proceedings and manage its expectations of what the Quad can realistically achieve.
Feb 7, 2019 Australian Strategic Policy Institute
U.S.-China tensions are rising in the South China Sea. Washington should take solace in the fact that Vietnam's “Three Nos” policy actually offers significant breathing room for defense cooperation.
Jan 21, 2019 The Diplomat
Despite its varied roles and responsibilities, the DIA can be boiled down to just two core missions: intelligence analysis and intelligence collection. Having a better understanding of these core missions could help to properly frame the agency’s value to the intelligence, military, and policymaking communities.
Jan 11, 2019 War on the Rocks
Between now and the next Taiwanese presidential election in 2020, the prospects of forging a sustainable peace between Taiwan and China are exceptionally low. Both Chinese President Xi and Taiwanese President Tsai are dug into their respective positions.
Jan 7, 2019 Foreign Policy
Even in its resurrected form, the Quad could be in danger of failing to achieve its mission. The Quad might consider getting its house in order by extending dialogue partnerships to ASEAN maritime counterclaimant states.
Oct 22, 2018 Foreign Policy
South Korea is cautiously optimistic that North Korea will denuclearize, and it hopes that this will lead to the normalization of relations. The vast majority of U.S. observers believe that the North is bluffing. Seoul and Washington should continue to strive for transparency about the future of the peninsula.
Jul 24, 2018 Pacific Council on International Policy
India's sustained membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue would fit with the goal of balancing against China to deter it from further militarizing the Indo-Pacific. But New Dehli may be getting cold feet.
Jul 23, 2018 Foreign Policy
China's perception of the political status of Taiwan and how close Taipei and Washington have become has come to dominate cross-strait relations. Taiwan and the United States should prepare for greater hostility in the coming years, almost certainly lasting until the next Taiwan presidential election in 2020.
May 22, 2018 Foreign Policy
Vietnam has sought to balance China's expanding presence in the South China Sea through diplomacy and military modernization. The Vietnam People's Army has acquired many useful weapons, but unfamiliarity with combat in the sea and air will test its evolving military doctrine.
May 11, 2018 Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative
Vietnam in March very publicly engaged in a string of activities to strengthen deterrence against China in the South China Sea. But Hanoi's push to deepen external defense ties with states that can help its cause will not necessarily translate into greater risk-taking in the region.
Mar 26, 2018 The Diplomat
The recent downgrade in U.S.-Pakistan relations will present both opportunities and challenges for China. Beijing can use the recent strain to promote a new model of international development, but must be wary of becoming the sole external power responsible for maintaining stability in the region.
Feb 26, 2018 South China Morning Post
President Trump receives intelligence briefings on a fairly regular basis and he appears engaged in discussions with senior staff and the intelligence community about content. Ideally, this process is informing his national security decisionmaking.
Feb 15, 2018 Lawfare
Chinese leaders have ample reason to feel good about Taiwan, namely because Taiwanese President Tsai had been focusing her energy on stabilizing cross-Strait relations based on the status quo rather than moving toward independence. But because of its pressure tactics, Beijing may inadvertently push Taiwan in a more extreme direction.
Jan 24, 2018 Global Taiwan Brief
It's fair to question whether Beijing intends to fully enforce sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime because such actions tend to undermine China's approach in North Korea. Beijing likely seeks to prevent the collapse of the North Korean regime to ensure that neither a spillover of refugees nor a reunified pro-U.S. Korea emerges on its doorstep.
Jan 4, 2018 The Hill
Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.
Dec 11, 2017 Jamestown Foundation's China Brief
The Trump administration has seized upon positive momentum from the Obama administration to elevate U.S.-Vietnam defense cooperation to new heights.
Nov 23, 2017 The Diplomat
Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), offers his perspective of key defense and security issues facing USARPAC in the Indo-Pacific region today. He discusses what the Army's role would be in any potential application of U.S. military power, as well as its peacetime role in strengthening U.S. alliances.
Oct 25, 2017 Pacific Council on International Policy
Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.
Sep 13, 2017 War on the Rocks
Russia first proposed India as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization likely in part to complement bilateral economic and security engagement, but mainly to constrain China's growing influence in the organization.
Jul 24, 2017 The Diplomat
China has key pressure points at its disposal to help deter North Korea from nuclear activities. It could cut off oil supplies or limit other trade, or crack down on illicit finance networks as many of the banks laundering money for the regime are in China. It could also stop shielding Pyongyang at the UN.
Jun 20, 2017 The Cipher Brief
Taiwan's 2017 Quadrennial Defense Review is consistent with past reviews on defense strategy, reform of the military service system, and defense budget constraints. It also emphasizes the importance to President Tsai of Taiwan's domestic defense industry and shows uncertainty about U.S. Asia policy.
Jun 14, 2017 Global Taiwan Brief
Prolonged tensions — even possibly amounting to a cross-strait cold peace — are likely if China's President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen cannot reach basic agreement on Taiwan's sovereignty.
May 10, 2017 International Security
Recent U.S. statements and public discussions on China's willingness to punish or otherwise influence North Korea in a direction favorable to U.S. interests have been optimistic. But China's continued support of the North should temper U.S. expectations.
Apr 24, 2017 The Cipher Brief
China has probably tolerated Vietnam's South China Sea construction activities because it feels confident in its military position in the region. Chinese leaders might change their stance if they believe Vietnam is trying to enlist the support of the U.S. or other partners to settle bilateral disputes.
Mar 3, 2017 Jamestown Foundation's China Brief
Chinese leaders should seek to engage in good-faith discussions with Taiwanese counterparts. Beijing should also recognize that Tsai's tentativeness about the new U.S. administration could change if cross-Strait military tensions escalate.
Feb 22, 2017 Global Taiwan Brief
President-elect Trump is receiving President Obama's version of the daily briefing; it has yet to be tailored to his preferences, to which every president is entitled. The intelligence community should seek to adapt the briefing to maximize its interest and relevance to the president-elect.
Jan 6, 2017 War on the Rocks
The U.S. One-China policy has helped keep the peace for decades. Abandoning it now could result in stiffer Chinese resolve. Such a strategy may even backfire by triggering an otherwise avoidable crisis.
Dec 22, 2016 The National Interest
Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.
Nov 3, 2016 The National Interest
The intelligence community should give analysts a channel to convey their individual insights. This would give policymakers well-reasoned alternative views.
Oct 20, 2016 War on the Rocks
Concerns are growing in Taipei over whether the Holy See intends to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. Beijing could be entertaining Vatican requests not out of genuine interest in reestablishing relations, but to put Taiwan on edge.
Oct 5, 2016 PacNet, CSIS
Taiwanese President Tsai has issued numerous political overtures to Beijing, yet Chinese President Xi has demonstrated a clear reluctance to accept her as a credible partner. Instead, he has turned up the heat on Tsai in an attempt to undermine her administration.
Sep 22, 2016 Defense Dossier
Unclassified tearlines could convey the bottom line and potential implications of a classified story in unclassified terms, while obscuring sensitive sources and methods. There are good reasons to build them into the business process and culture of intelligence agencies.
Jul 28, 2016 War on the Rocks
Xi Jinping is relying on an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, echoing Mao Zedong's dictum that “the party commands the gun,” and implementing a sweeping reorganization of the PLA to ensure his personal dominance over the military and to strengthen its ability to deter or win future wars.
Apr 21, 2016 Newsweek