Carl Thayer has just prepared three more background briefings – see below.

1. Thayer Background Brief “Vietnam: Chinese Warships Visit Cam Ranh Bay,” Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, October 20, 2016

Three Chinese warships will dock at Cam Ranh Bay this weekend (21-22 Oct) for a four-day visit… The most recent visit by Chinese warships to Cam Ranh Bay follows an invitation by Vietnam in March of this year. After 2014 both sides moved to restore “political trust” through friendly military exchanges on their common border. These exchanges now involve meetings between their respective defense ministers. The PLAN visit to Cam Ranh International Port extends these confidence-building measures to the maritime domain.

2. Thayer Background Brief – “Philippines: Duterte’s Visit Provides Incentive for China to Exercise Self-Restraint,” Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, October 22, 2016

President Duterte’s lurch towards Beijing in the aftermath of his re-election and the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award on the South China Sea should provide an incentive to China to hold back on its assertive behaviour and to pause in its militarization of its artificial islands because there is much more to be gained by Beijing by responding positively to Duterte’s initiative…

3. Thayer Background Brief Philippines Duterte’s Pivot to China (“Philippines: Duterte’s Pivot to China,” Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, October 21, 2016.)

… Vietnam has benefitted in the past by letting the Philippines take the point (or lead) on South China Sea issues. Vietnam will now come under increased pressure to speed up discussions with China on cooperation and joint development of the waters outside the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin. Vietnam’s “diversification and multilateralization” of external relations will face some difficulties as the actions by the Philippines will undercut the U.S. commitment to Southeast Asia…