Stories about South China Sea

Caught in the middle: Pakistan’s position in the US-China power shift

China’s rise has triggered a myriad of debates among political and academic commentators alike. Will it be peaceful and rely solely on America’s decline? Or will the changing structure of the international arena inevitably be riddled with war and violence? As the aforementioned thoughts become the subject of repeated discussions, another problem closer to home becomes more and more pressing: can Pakistan ride the ever-turbulent wave of great power rivalry, or is it playing dangerously close to the fire?  Developing trends in regional governance suggest that although American hegemony endures on the international scale, it is undoubtedly being subverted, as China’s global influence ...

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The reality check that brought Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping together

India-China relations have continued to be plagued by mistrust, ever since the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. India was caught unaware by the surprise attack, especially when it had espoused the Chinese cause at the international forum. Then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, even went to the extent of supporting China’s membership of the United Nations Security Council at India’s expense, since it is believed to have been offered a permanent seat as well by the US and the Soviet Union. The war came as a severe jolt to Nehru, who had always believed in strong India-China relations. Consequently, the ...

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If Xi Jinping wants China to be accepted as a global leader, he needs to revise his aggressive diplomacy

The anointment of President Xi Jinping as the ‘core leader’ in the recently concluded 19th Chinese Communist Party congress, and by enshrining his thoughts on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era” in the party’s constitution, Jinping has elevated himself to the exalted status of Chairman Mao Zedong. Like the Little Red Book, Jinping’s thoughts have now been made compulsory reading for Chinese students, government officials and party functionaries. Jinping, before the convention of the congress, where his elevation was a foregone conclusion, had systematically purged all his potential rivals. His Machiavellian statecraft had ensured that he had a vice-like grip over the party. Added ...

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In 2017, Modi may control the Indian narrative, but flounder globally

Because time moves on, the world is always in a state of flux. But regions and countries move at a different pace. Twenty-sixteen, however, was marked by several long-term trends in key nations and regions coming to a head at the same time, giving us that special sense of churn and dislocation. The terror attacks in Belgium, France, and Germany confirmed the beginning of a long and hard slog to contain Islamist radicalism in Europe. With Brexit, the unexpected British decision to leave the European Union, there are signals that the European Union itself was possibly under threat. Developments In the United States, ...

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Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte: An effective leader or a despotic one?

Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  First, he has been accused of large scale human rights violation, where tens and thousands of people have lost their lives due to extra judicial killings, drug trafficking, rape, murder, arson and other related criminal activities. The second incident relates to an interview he had given, where, when asked how he would react if Barack Obama were to criticise him for extra judicial killings of over 1,000 persons involved in drug trafficking and other acts of crime, he responded with cuss words against the president. Although Duterte realised his faux pas and expressed regret over his ...

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Is China justified in rejecting the UN tribunal award on its claims over the South China Sea?

The United Nation’s appointed ‘Permanent Court of Arbitration’ has rejected China’s claims over the South China Sea, as well as the Islands within it. In a landmark judgment, delivered on Tuesday, the arbitration court found that China had no historical rights over the waters of the South China Sea and had violated the Philippines sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by, 1. Interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, 2. Constructing artificial islands and, 3. Failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone. The tribunal had also claimed that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at ...

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With Vietnam’s astonishing human rights record, is lifting the arms embargo a smart call?

President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Vietnam and his monumental full removal of the arms embargo was a clear signal that the leader of the free world will not be content with adopting a laid-back approach in his final year in office. He’s alive and kicking and means business! While the race for the White House gets nastier by the day, the president carries on strongly spreading goodwill and doing damage control as much as he possibly can both at home and abroad. Every nation has its own foreign policy goals and the US is no exception. Those goals may not necessarily fundamentally agree with the aspirations of other ...

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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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Can Modi’s visit to China give India the power it craves?

Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been on a slew of foreign visits since his arrival at the helm in a bid to concretise India’s relations across the globe. Not only has he laid special emphasis on India’s immediate neighbours who lingered in oblivion during the previous tenure, but has also made efforts to project India as China’s competitor in the subcontinent. However, his visits have often been regarded as more about semantics and less about substance. China and India have been grappling hard to maintain their hegemony over the region, albeit China has outmanoeuvred India on almost every occasion. As part of ...

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“I will be selling chai on Mars soon!”

Chinese authorities, on Friday, sent a letter to the UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), condemning the unashamedly cheerful celebration by the Indian authorities on the success of the recent Indian Mars mission ‘Mangalyaan’. It accused the country of ‘highly inappropriate’ interference in its outer space affairs. The letter from the Beijing foreign affairs committee said that, under its ‘eight planet chain’ convention, China has the exclusive rights to any space territory that was charted by its ancient astronomers. This is not the first time the emerging Asian superpower has asserted its growing authority on disputed territories. It has previously ...

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