So just in case you’ve forgotten about the Asia-Pacific in the 24/7 news cycle of trauma we’ve been experiencing lately, don’t fret; it’s still there, and it’s still a tinderbox.
by James Corbett
The International Forecaster
The failed Turkish coup. The Nice attack. The RNC and DNC. There is no shortage of headline-grabbing news stories to keep you occupied during this summer of rage.
[…] But while your attention is elsewhere, huge moves are afoot in the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, those moves are afoot in the South China Sea, where the Permanent Court of Arbitration handed down a long-awaited ruling last week in favor of the Philippines in their long-running dispute over territorial waters with China. The court, operating under the arbitration provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ruled that China does not have “historical rights” to the waters in question and that their reclamation activity in the area has already caused irreparable environmental damage and should stop immediately. China promptly rejected the ruling exactly as they said they would.
This might sound like dry, legalistic stuff, but it’s not. This dispute is a window into the simmering tensions that are ready to boil over in the region if and when the US makes its long-awaited, much-ballyhooed “Asia-Pacific pivot” (i.e. when Clinton is inaugurated by the voting machines this November).