Last week’s ASEAN Summit comes at a time of rising geopolitical tensions in the region, including between member states and China. Nevertheless, paralyzed by its commitment to unanimity-based decision-making, ASEAN is either unwilling or unable to check Beijing’s worst instincts. The result is a deepening fragmentation within the bloc.
Competition over maritime resources and territorial disputes over maritime borders highlight the tensions between national sovereignty and transnational challenges in the maritime domain. While often ignored in coverage of international affairs, it features prominently in bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy.