Chinese officials have reacted cooly to President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that US Marines will be based in northern Australia, closer to the disputed South China Sea than any other US land forces.
President Obama in Australia today pledged to boost the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The significant strategic shift is popular with regional governments wary of China's rise.
Eager not to be forgotten as a claimant in the South China Sea, as it was in July when China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to confidence-building guidelines, Taiwan plans to set up an ocean research center and share its findings with others.
China soundly rejected a US Senate resolution criticizing its actions in the South China Sea and calling for multilateral negotiations, saying the regional dispute is not a matter for the US.
Tensions between China and Vietnam have risen in recent weeks, with Vietnam expressing alarm at what it says are increasingly aggressive actions by China in disputed waters.
A US-China military rivalry may be behind China's recent aggressiveness in the South China Sea. On Sunday, Vietnam claims China cut the underwater cables of one of its survey ships.
Recent flyovers by Chinese aircraft in the disputed Spratly Islands off the coast of the Philippines are raising concerns about China's expansionism.
Natural gas and other conventional fuel imports will rise after Japan's nuclear disaster. Asian exporters of natural gas, coal, and oil should see the biggest boost.