Defence

US President Joe Biden speaks as Antony Blinken, US secretary of state (left), and Lloyd Austin, US secretary of defense (right), listen during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington DC, US, on 20 July 2021. (Al Drago/Bloomberg)

'Mini' Shangri-La Dialogue: The US needs to provide tangible deliverables in Southeast Asia

When Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, speaks at the 40th Fullerton Lecture in Singapore tonight, he will need to go beyond speaking about esoteric concepts such as the “rules-based international order” and promise that Washington will provide tangible deliverables in the form of pandemic assistance, economic growth and trade.
A dinghy (left) from Indonesia's National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) returns to their vessel after evacuating a Russian crew member from the Danish tanker Hulda Maersk (right) for medical reasons, at sea off the coast of Aceh on 27 April 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Indonesia-US Maritime Training Centre: A sign of Indonesia's independent and active foreign policy

A new maritime training centre established by Indonesia and the US is emblematic of sustained bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain, and the ASEAN member state’s independent and active foreign policy.
F-35B Lightning II aircraft are seen on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently moored at the port of Limassol, Cyprus, 1 July 2021. (Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters)

Will the UK's Royal Navy conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea?

As a British Carrier Strike Group heads towards Southeast Asia, speculation is rife that a Royal Navy warship will conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. A recent incident in the Black Sea may shorten the odds of that happening.
A Taiwan Navy honour guard looks on in front of a Taiwan flag during the launch ceremony for the Taiwan Navy's domestically built amphibious transport dock "Yushan" in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 13 April 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Will the Taiwan Strait issue be internationalised under Biden?

Mainland China has most recently sent 28 aircraft close to Taiwan, prompting concerns that the situation in the Taiwan Strait might boil over, not least with US-led actions possibly internationalising the issue. What’s the true temperature of the situation? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu reports.
Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) soldiers wearing protective face masks arrive for a live fire exercise at JGSDF's training grounds in the East Fuji Maneuver Area in Gotemba, Japan, on 22 May 2021. A key part of US President Joe Bidens foreign policy has been turning to allies for support in addressing the security risks posed by the likes of China and North Korea, placing a greater emphasis on the Indo-Pacific region. (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

What removing the defence budget cap means for Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific

​Since 1976, Japan’s defence budget has traditionally been capped at 1% of its GDP. However, in a recent interview, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that this self-imposed limit would effectively be removed.
This handout photograph taken on 2 May 2021 and released by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense shows US soldiers and Afghan National Army soldiers raising Afghanistan's national flag during a handover ceremony to the Afghan National Army army 215 Maiwand corps at Antonik camp in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Afghanistan Ministry of Defense/AFP)

Could China send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan?

The US may implicitly have been targeting China when it indicated its plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan completely by 11 September 2021, thereby necessitating regional players to get more involved. If there is a UN peacekeeping mission, China may well join in to guard against spillover security threats to Xinjiang, but its precise involvement may complicate matters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the commissioning ceremony of three PLA Navy battle warships in Sanya, Hainan province, China, 23 April 2021. (Xinhua)

What does the high-profile launch of three new PLA warships tell us?

The PLA Navy recently launched three heavy-duty battle warships — the Hainan, the Dalian and the Changzheng 18 — all in one go, prompting suggestions that the Chinese are now more confident about their strategic defence capabilities. Yu Zeyuan has the details.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering before flagging off the "Dandi March" or Salt March, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, in Ahmedabad, India, 12 March 2021. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

Quad now centrepiece in India’s China strategy

In the past, India was reticent about participating in the Quad. But amid China’s growing military, economic and diplomatic assertiveness and India’s decreasing capability to balance China on its own, the prospect of a Quad mechanism to help it do so is looking more attractive. At the recent first Quad summit, leaders committed to expanding vaccine production in India and building resilient supply chains. If all stars align, India is set to play a greater role in the Quad. How will it use this to its advantage in Sino-Indian relations? Yogesh Joshi analyses the issue.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) attends the inspection of a Republic of China Navy fleet in Keelung on 8 March 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan is America's best asset against China, but for how long?

Despite concerns that Taiwan might lose US support under the Biden administration, so far it seems that the opposite is true — the US has in fact maintained or even stepped up its support for Taiwan. But as platforms and mechanisms evolve in relation to containing China, how valuable will Taiwan still be as a geostrategic asset?