Ahead of the weekend, some stories you may have missed and some recommended reads:
What may come in May. A decision is expected in the pending case between the Philippines and China over disputed claims in the South China Sea in May, according to the Philippines. A separate Reuters report suggests that the Philippines is open to considering bilateral talks to resolve their disputes in the South China Sea provided that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague rules in its favor in their case. In October 2015, the Court decided on the issue of jurisdiction, ruling mostly in the Philippines’ favor. China is not officially participating in the case, but the Court is treating a position paper submitted by Beijing in early 2015 as an official document.
No U.S.-India patrols in the South China Sea. Sorry. In case you missed it, India came out and denied reports that it would be conducting joint patrols with the United States in the South China Sea anytime soon. Before New Delhi confirmed that this wasn’t in the offing, I took a look at why U.S.-India patrols in the South China Sea are very unlikely in the near- and medium-term.
How China’s military spending is driving up Asian defense spending. The Nikkei reports that Asia is the only region in the word that saw increased defense spending in aggregate in 2015. The report cites the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance 2016 report, which is available here. The continued rise in Asian spending is due primarily due to regional anxieties about a rising China and perceived threats in Asia’s seas, including the East and South China Seas. In 2014, as global defense spending sank, Asian spending went up.
What’s going on with India and Israel? As I’ve sometimes commented here, the relationship between India and Israel is steadily getting more and more intriguing. This is partly due to the election of Narendra Modi as India’s prime minister in May 2014, but it also represents the culmination of a long-standing process of diplomatic rapprochement. Over at Brookings, Tanvi Madan has a very comprehensive update on where these two countries stand today.
Possible responses to North Korea. On the latest podcast, I speak with Shannon Tiezzi and Prashanth Parameswaran about North Korea’s latest satellite launch and the ensuing regional diplomatic fallout. We discuss what might be necessary for the United States and China to find a working arrangement on tackling North Korea together and where North Korea is headed this year.