Over the past year, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies conducted a study of China’s maritime militia using remote sensing data and open-source Chinese language research. The resulting report, Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Maritime Militia, features the most comprehensive study to-date of the structure, subsidies, and ownership networks of China’s maritime militia in the South China Sea, as well as a methodology for identifying Chinese maritime militia vessels and a list of over 120 militia vessels thus identified.

The full report can be accessed here:

Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Maritime Militia (full PDF download)


Menyingkap Semula Tirai Tentera Maritim Cina (Malay Translation)

Vén màn sự thật về Dân quân Hàng hải Trung Quốc (Vietnamese Translation)

Executive Summary

Since completing the construction of its artificial island outposts in the Spratly Islands in 2016, China has shifted its focus toward asserting control over peacetime activity across the South China Sea. A key component of this shift has been the expansion of China’s maritime militia—a force of vessels ostensibly engaged in commercial fishing but which in fact operate alongside Chinese law enforcement and military to achieve Chinese political objectives in disputed waters.


Chinese Survey Vessel Xiang Yang Hong 10’s Encroachment on Vietnam’s Waters: Intention and Consequences

30/05/2023 Nghiencuubiendong


In response to reporters’ questions on the afternoon of May 25, 2023, Deputy Spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Pham Thu Hang said that Chinese survey vessel Xiang Yang Hong 10 (XYH-10), Coast Guard vessels, and fishing ships had violated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) established in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).[1] According to Reuters, the ship XYH-10 and its escorts have appeared in Vietnam’s EEZ since May 8.[2] Data from open vessel-tracking sources such as Marine Traffic or Sea Vision also show this occurrence. Looking back from the beginning of 2023 until now, China has deployed many so-called “survey and research vessels” to operate in Vietnam’s EEZ, such as the case of the Haiyang Dizhi 4 in early March 2023, but it is noteworthy that the XYH-10 this time is approaching the coast of Vietnam and blatantly conducting activities that China calls “normal”. Against the backdrop of China’s efforts to build the image of a “responsible major power”, this move of China has obviously infringed on the UNCLOS and seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its EEZ and continental shelf established in accordance with UNCLOS.

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Tàu Hướng Dương Hồng 10 của Trung Quốc vi phạm vùng biển Việt Nam: Ý đồ và Hậu quả quốc tế

Nghiencuubiendong – 26/05/2023

Trả lời câu hỏi phóng viên chiều ngày 25/5/2023, Phó Phát ngôn Bộ Ngoại giao Việt Nam Phạm Thu Hằng cho biết, tàu khảo sát Hướng Dương Hồng 10 (XYH-10) của Trung Quốc cùng một số tàu hải cảnh, tàu cá bảo vệ đã xâm phạm vùng đặc quyền kinh tế của Việt Nam được xác lập phù hợp với các quy định của Công ước Liên Hiệp Quốc về Luật biển năm 1982. Trước đó, theo tin từ Reuters, tàu XYH-10 cùng loạt tàu hộ tống đã xuất hiện tại vùng đặc quyền kinh tế của Việt Nam từ ngày 8/5.    

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Philippines-Vietnam teaming up on China in South China Sea

Marcos Jr-Chinh reviving dormant de facto alliance to check, balance and challenge China in disputed and militarized waters


Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh are in a strategic embrace. Image: Facebook

MANILA – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has not only revitalized defense ties with traditional Western allies but has also doubled down on strategic cooperation with like-minded regional states pushing back against China’s South China Sea assertiveness.

In particular, Vietnam has emerged as a pivotal player in the Philippines’ emerging regional strategy to constrain and roll back China’s ambitions in the hotly contested and geostrategically crucial maritime area.

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Taiwan President on Taiwan

蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen @iingwen

Today I begin my eighth year as president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Seven years ago, we embraced our cause of transforming our country, and one step after the other, embarked on reform. From then to now, we have walked a long path. We have markedly changed the face of Taiwan from that of seven years ago. Going forward, we must demonstrate our determination to create an economy and industries that are even more resilient, so that we can cement Taiwan’s key position in global supply chains.

Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Net Zero Transitions


A World Energy Outlook Special Report on the Oil and Gas Industry and COP28

Today, oil and gas operations account for around 15% of total energy-related emissions globally, the equivalent of 5.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. In the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the emissions intensity of these activities falls by 50% by the end of the decade. Combined with the reductions in oil and gas consumption in this scenario, this results in a 60% reduction in emissions from oil and gas operations to 2030.

Fortunately, oil and gas producers have a clear opportunity to address the problem of emissions from their activities through a series of ready-to-implement and costeffective measures. These include tackling methane emissions, eliminating all non-emergency flaring, electrifying upstream facilities with low-emissions electricity, equipping oil and gas processes with carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, and expanding the use of hydrogen from low-emissions electrolysis in refineries.

Upfront investments totalling USD 600 billion would be required to halve the emissions intensity of oil and gas operations globally by 2030. This is only a fraction of the record windfall income that oil and gas producers accrued in 2022 – a year of soaring energy prices amid a global energy crisis. This report aims to inform discussions on these issues in the run-up to the COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai in November and is part of a broader World Energy Outlook special report to be released later in 2023 focusing on the role of the oil and gas industry in net zero transitions.

Full report here

Aggression in West PH Sea: China’s maritime ‘Great Wall’ plan

By: Kurt Dela Peña May 04, 2023 globalnation.inquirer.net


(First of two parts)

MANILA, Philippines—China is building a maritime ‘Great Wall’ in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, according to analysts who have been keeping tabs on Chinese aggression in the disputed waters.

But unlike the engineering marvel Great Wall built mainly for defense, the one that China is building on seas far from its coast is also for dominance, the analysts said.

In the 1990s, China started building structures over coral reefs and islets inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea. This was met by so far the strongest protest from the Philippine government—an arbitration case over the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012.

But China, instead, “flexed more of its military muscle.” The intrusion continued with impunity.

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China plots 33 spots for regular research ship visits, in Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, Pacific and Indian oceans

Stephen Chen in Beijing,SCMP

Published: 6:00pm, 1 Apr, 2023

Why you can trust SCMP


China operates one of the world’s largest ocean surveying fleets but survey routes have often lacked transparency and varied from one mission to another. Photo: Xinhua

China operates one of the world’s largest ocean surveying fleets but survey routes have often lacked transparency and varied from one mission to another. Photo: Xinhua

Beijing has for the first time listed the specific locations to be visited regularly by Chinese ocean research vessels, including disputed areas of the South China Sea and waters close to US Pacific bases.

The 33 areas, or “reference sections”, cover a wide span of regional waterways – from the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea to the western Pacific and eastern Indian oceans – according to the announcement from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), a top government research funder.

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US Navy denying china’s claims of illegally entering waters

Al Jazeera English – 23-3-2023

The United States has denied Chinese claims that a US destroyer was driven out from waters around the contested Paracel Islands after it “illegally” entered the area.

China’s state media described the US ship as having trespassed in “Chinese territorial waters”.

The US Navy on Thursday disputed the PLA statement, saying the destroyer was conducting “routine operations” in the South China Sea and was not expelled by Chinese ships.

Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu joins us live from Beijing to give us the latest updates.

(Almost) Everyone is Drilling Inside the Nine-Dash Line

Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative
March 8, 2023  |  AMTI Brief (Almost) Everyone is Drilling Inside the Nine-Dash Line

China’s military, law enforcement, and militia engaged in regular standoffs between 2018 and 2021 with Southeast Asian neighbors over oil and gas exploration inside Beijing’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. By contrast, 2022 was comparatively quiet when it came to tensions over hydrocarbons, aside from one encounter involving the Philippines. But as several claimants forge ahead with new offshore projects in 2023, oil and gas development could reemerge as a primary flashpoint in the disputes.

This feature details new exploration and development projects by claimants across the South China Sea. Many of the new projects lie in disputed waters, some at the sites of previous confrontations. With the China Coast Guard increasing the frequency of patrols across disputed waters, the prospect of confrontation between Chinese law enforcement and oil and gas operators at many of these locations is high.All of the projects detailed here and more are available to explore on AMTI’s newly updated map of Energy Exploration and Development in the South China Sea.

Continue reading on CSIS website >>

High Seas Treaty secured after marathon UN talks

‘This is a massive success for multilateralism,’ UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi says.

Red Sea’s ‘Super Corals’ Prove Resistant To Rising Ocean Temperatures
High Seas Treaty will place 30 percent of the seas into protected areas by 2030 | Lukasz Larsson Warzecha/Getty Images

BY JONES HAYDEN, politco.eu

MARCH 5, 2023 9:49 AM CET

More than 100 countries reached agreement on a United Nations treaty to protect the high seas, following marathon talks at U.N. headquarters in New York that ended late Saturday.

The High Seas Treaty will put 30 percent of the planet’s seas into protected areas by 2030, aiming to safeguard marine life.

“This is a massive success for multilateralism. An example of the transformation our world needs and the people we serve demand,” U.N. General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi tweeted after the U.N. conference president, Rena Lee, announced the agreement.

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The world after Taiwan’s fall

Read full articles on Pacific Forum:
Part one >>
Part two >>


The study’s main finding is that Taiwan’s fall would have devastating consequences for the United States and many countries in the region and beyond. Regardless of how it happens (without or despite US/allied intervention), Taiwan’s fall to the PRC would be earth shattering. The PRC could eclipse US power and influence in the region once and for all. Taiwan’s fall could lead to the advent of a Pax Sinica where Beijing and its allies would pursue their interests much more aggressively and with complete impunity. Nuclear proliferation in several parts of the Indo-Pacific could also be the net result of Taiwan’s fall, leading to much more dangerous regional and international security environments. To several authors, it would thus be necessary to build an Asian equivalent to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to prevent PRC adventurism and ultimately retake Taiwan.

Accordingly, the United States, its allies, and others should take major action—rapidly—to prevent such a development. In particular, the United States should lead an effort to strengthen collective deterrence and defense in the Indo-Pacific; this is especially important in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has shown territory takeovers still happen in the twenty-first century. The United States should also give serious consideration to establishing region-wide nuclear sharing arrangements; at a minimum, it should jumpstart research to examine the benefits, costs, and risks that such arrangements would bring to the Indo-Pacific security architecture, as well as assess the opportunities and challenges that such a development would present.

Read full articles on Pacific Forum:
Part one >>
Part two >>