Daily Memo: US Activity in the Asia-Pacific

Washington comes bearing gifts to the Philippines and cuts it up with the Russian navy.

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Washington bears gifts to Manila. During a visit to the Philippines, U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced the formal transfer of an $18 million package of precision-guided missiles and munitions. Ostensibly, these are meant to counter Islamic State forces in the country’s south, but Manila is also taking steps to build out maritime missile deterrent. O’Brien also reiterated a U.S. pledge to come to the aid of Philippine forces if attacked in the South China Sea. The devil is in the details here; as Manila has long wanted more clarity from its treaty ally on what sorts of “attacks” would actually trigger a U.S. response. The U.S. in Russian waters. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian navy caught a U.S. destroyer operating in its territorial waters off the Sea of Japan. A spokesman from the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet claimed the destroyer had navigational rights and freedoms in the Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia’s “excessive maritime claims” and to demonstrate that these waters are not Russia’s territorial sea under international law. Tajikistan in the Eurasian Economic Union? The speaker of the upper house of the Tajik parliament is on an official visit to Russia. The […]

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