OPINION | Don’t overestimate China’s ambitions in the Arctic

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long 2 somewhere in the Arctic

Western analysts risk overestimating China’s emergence as an Arctic power, spurred by fears that they initially neglected the reappearance of the Arctic as a theatre for strategic competition. Contrary to such alarmist views, Beijing is in fact far more constrained in the region, mainly because of...


OPINION | FONOPs send a message – but they don’t speak for themselves

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey conducts routine underway operations.in the South China Sea, November 3, 2023.

The Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) program run by the US Department of Defense has become a symbol of China-US naval competition and of the West’s advocacy for a rules-based order. Operational assertions are thrust into the limelight whenever China responds to one. And barely any US...


COLUMN | On the edge? McDermott, Petrofac, The Metals Company and Cadeler [Offshore Accounts]

Lady Gaga famously sang that she was “on the edge of glory”. This week, we look at four companies on the edge of….well, something. Let’s check in on two construction companies, a subsea mining venture, and our favourite wind turbine installer. McDermott on the edge Finally, a judge in the UK has...


OPINION | Understanding China’s efforts to bridge the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait disputes

Two Asia-Pacific flashpoints – the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait – stand at a critical juncture, but their connection is not always well understood. In the South China Sea, China has ramped up its military assertiveness against the Philippines while at the same time holding out the prospect of...


OPINION | How to stop any repeat of the Australia-China sonar incident

Soviet warships regularly sparred with Western navies during the Cold War years, conducting close-in ship-to-ship manoeuvres and pointing lasers against their foreign opponents at sea. China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy have gone one “better” – resorting to what Markus Garlauskas and Philip Yu, writing for the New Atlanticist, called “acoustic aggression” after last month directing […]

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OPINION | China’s “blue dragon” strategy in the Indo-Pacific

To compete strategically with the United States and undermine President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific policy, China has quietly been advancing its stealthy divide-and-conquer foreign policy agenda on four different but connected frontiers. The core of Beijing’s comprehensive plan can be described as a “blue dragon” strategy, anchored primarily between two “unsinkable aircraft carriers”, Sri Lanka and […]

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OPINION | “Same, same but different”: assessing ASEAN’s and the EU’s maritime strategies

The emergence of the Indo-Pacific concept shows the cardinal role oceans play in shaping international politics. While synergies are created by the notional confluence of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, these waters contain some of the world’s most sensitive flashpoints for conflicts that could have monumental consequences. In that context, the South China Sea […]

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OPINION | The sticky case of Indonesia, a seized Iranian oil tanker, and legal jurisdiction

The two giant freighters floated “dark” in the open ocean not far from Indonesia. Their positioning transponders switched off, neither tanker displayed a national flag – but one ship was known to have claimed Iranian registration, the other to have made at least eight visits to Venezuela in recent...


OPINION | Despite the excitement, India’s South China Sea policy remains unchanged

An India-Philippines joint statement last month has caused a stir. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Foreign Minister, and his Filipino counterpart, Enrique Manalo, issu ..

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OPINION | The cost of crime and corruption on Pacific fisheries

The Pacific Ocean is the most abundant fishing region, however an uptick in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing around the islands means that might not alw ..

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