Mark J. Valencia

Dr Mark J. Valencia is an internationally known maritime policy analyst, political commentator and consultant focused on Asia. He is the author or editor of some 15 books and more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. Currently he is adjunct senior scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.
Mark J. Valencia
Dr Mark J. Valencia is an internationally known maritime policy analyst, political commentator and consultant focused on Asia. He is the author or editor of some 15 books and more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. Currently he is adjunct senior scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Latest from Mark J. Valencia

Opinion | With John Bolton leading the charge against North Korea, the US would have no qualms about breaking international law at sea, or probably anywhere else

The US national security adviser, known for his disdain for global treaties, is renewing a US effort to interdict ships suspected of carrying banned cargo to and from North Korea and violating UN sanctions. The trouble is, this could legitimately be seen as an act of war.

15 Mar 2019 - 3:39AM

The US national security adviser, known for his disdain for global treaties, is renewing a US effort to interdict ships suspected of carrying banned cargo to and from North Korea and violating UN sanctions. The trouble is, this could legitimately be seen as an act of war.

With John Bolton leading the charge against North Korea, the US would have no qualms about breaking international law at sea, or probably anywhere else
Opinion | Chinese military officers’ tough talk on the US is a product of fear and frustration, not a real threat

Recent confrontational remarks by Chinese military officers on the US are a response to American provocation in the form of increased freedom of navigation operations, new alliances such as the Quad and anti-China rhetoric in US foreign policy circles.

25 Feb 2019 - 12:30AM

Recent confrontational remarks by Chinese military officers on the US are a response to American provocation in the form of increased freedom of navigation operations, new alliances such as the Quad and anti-China rhetoric in US foreign policy circles.

Chinese military officers’ tough talk on the US is a product of fear and frustration, not a real threat
Opinion | A US strategy that seeks to ‘manage’ China based only on American interests may be a fool’s errand

Instead of seeking to contain China through a strategy of ‘competitive coexistence’, the US must accept China’s growing influence and realistically negotiate the transition to a new order in which power is shared.

13 Feb 2019 - 12:51AM

Instead of seeking to contain China through a strategy of ‘competitive coexistence’, the US must accept China’s growing influence and realistically negotiate the transition to a new order in which power is shared.

A US strategy that seeks to ‘manage’ China based only on American interests may be a fool’s errand
Opinion | To renew the US-Philippines relationship, start with ditching the American-centric lens

A possible review of the Philippines’ Mutual Defence Treaty with the US has alarmed US-Asia policy experts, but the rhetoric continues to centre on American interests.

1 Feb 2019 - 9:36AM

A possible review of the Philippines’ Mutual Defence Treaty with the US has alarmed US-Asia policy experts, but the rhetoric continues to centre on American interests.

To renew the US-Philippines relationship, start with ditching the American-centric lens
Opinion | The best and worst outcomes of the Singapore-Malaysia territorial disputes

Malaysia’s territorial disputes with Singapore reflect the countries’ bitter past. But, in the long term, a trade-off is possible: one side gets to maintain its maritime claim, and the other gets to manage the airspace.

19 Jan 2019 - 11:06AM

Malaysia’s territorial disputes with Singapore reflect the countries’ bitter past. But, in the long term, a trade-off is possible: one side gets to maintain its maritime claim, and the other gets to manage the airspace.

The best and worst outcomes of the Singapore-Malaysia territorial disputes
Opinion | A new British naval base in Southeast Asia could stoke resentment, split Asean and put the UK in China’s cross hairs

Britain’s ambition to project post-Brexit global influence and join the US in containing China may have consequences London isn’t prepared for.

11 Jan 2019 - 7:10PM

Britain’s ambition to project post-Brexit global influence and join the US in containing China may have consequences London isn’t prepared for.

A new British naval base in Southeast Asia could stoke resentment, split Asean and put the UK in China’s cross hairs
Opinion | In a post-James-Mattis South China Sea, can the next US defence chief do what needs to be done to prevent war?

The new US defence secretary will have to understand, as James Mattis did, the balance required for the US to stay in the Indo-Pacific as a leading strategic power but also prevent conflict with China.

2 Jan 2019 - 2:14AM

The new US defence secretary will have to understand, as James Mattis did, the balance required for the US to stay in the Indo-Pacific as a leading strategic power but also prevent conflict with China.

In a post-James-Mattis South China Sea, can the next US defence chief do what needs to be done to prevent war?
Opinion | Could the Philippines fall victim to a US-China proxy conflict?

With Beijing and Washington stepping up their struggle for influence in the region, a bitter debate on how Manila should respond is polarising the political classes and stirring up old rivalries.

21 Dec 2018 - 11:41AM

With Beijing and Washington stepping up their struggle for influence in the region, a bitter debate on how Manila should respond is polarising the political classes and stirring up old rivalries.

Could the Philippines fall victim to a US-China proxy conflict?
Opinion | China could edge the US out of the South China Sea by softening its approach to Southeast Asian rivals

Southeast Asian nations are open to better ties with China and do not necessarily see US freedom of navigation operations as being in their interests. By proposing joint development or mutual use of disputed areas and capitalising on its economic power, China could lure Southeast Asia away from the US.

28 Nov 2018 - 8:35PM

Southeast Asian nations are open to better ties with China and do not necessarily see US freedom of navigation operations as being in their interests. By proposing joint development or mutual use of disputed areas and capitalising on its economic power, China could lure Southeast Asia away from the US.

China could edge the US out of the South China Sea by softening its approach to Southeast Asian rivals
Opinion | On the South China Sea, US and Chinese military leaders continue to talk past each other

A recent US-China security dialogue failed to produce any tension-defusing agreement. The two sides agreed that the talks had been “candid”, but the US continued to misconstrue Xi Jinping’s remarks on militarisation in the South China Sea.

14 Nov 2018 - 12:25PM

A recent US-China security dialogue failed to produce any tension-defusing agreement. The two sides agreed that the talks had been “candid”, but the US continued to misconstrue Xi Jinping’s remarks on militarisation in the South China Sea.

On the South China Sea, US and Chinese military leaders continue to talk past each other
Opinion | Amid South China Sea tensions, what will the meeting between the US and China’s defence chiefs yield?

Mark J. Valencia says amid escalating tensions between the US and China, the meeting between the two defence chiefs could establish ground rules for what may prove to be a dangerous period for US-China relations ahead.

1 Nov 2018 - 3:23AM

Mark J. Valencia says amid escalating tensions between the US and China, the meeting between the two defence chiefs could establish ground rules for what may prove to be a dangerous period for US-China relations ahead.

Amid South China Sea tensions, what will the meeting between the US and China’s defence chiefs yield?
South China Sea: how well do China and the US really know each other’s intentions?

Washington and Beijing both act as though they know what the other wants in the South China Sea, but may be falling victim to worst-case thinking that risks further conflict.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

Washington and Beijing both act as though they know what the other wants in the South China Sea, but may be falling victim to worst-case thinking that risks further conflict.

South China Sea: how well do China and the US really know each other’s intentions?
Naval code of conduct won’t make US-China encounters in South China Sea safer

The non-binding Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea is creating false hopes for regional maritime stability. The real problem is China and the US have conflicting security strategies for China’s near seas.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

The non-binding Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea is creating false hopes for regional maritime stability. The real problem is China and the US have conflicting security strategies for China’s near seas.

Naval code of conduct won’t make US-China encounters in South China Sea safer
US is using Rimpac to woo Asean and counter its move towards China, but will it work?

The Rim of the Pacific Exercise from which China was excluded this year is no floating cocktail party but a display of US soft power.

12 Jul 2018 - 7:54PM

The Rim of the Pacific Exercise from which China was excluded this year is no floating cocktail party but a display of US soft power.

US is using Rimpac to woo Asean and counter its move towards China, but will it work?
Are Asean members still willing to support a provocative US in the South China Sea?

Asean claimants to features in the South China Sea are wavering in their support for a provocative American presence in the region, as they seek to find the right balance between China and the US.

2 Jul 2018 - 1:00AM

Asean claimants to features in the South China Sea are wavering in their support for a provocative American presence in the region, as they seek to find the right balance between China and the US.

Are Asean members still willing to support a provocative US in the South China Sea?
How US-China battle for control of the ‘global order’ is being played out in the South China Sea

While the US may paint China as an opponent of international order that is ‘militarising’ the South China Sea, it is no stranger to bending global norms, or to militarisation, itself

22 Jun 2018 - 2:00AM

While the US may paint China as an opponent of international order that is ‘militarising’ the South China Sea, it is no stranger to bending global norms, or to militarisation, itself

How US-China battle for control of the ‘global order’ is being played out in the South China Sea
South China Sea tensions: does the US have an endgame, beyond war?

The US’ new, more confrontational approach to China’s actions in the South China Sea is based on misconceptions and disingenuous thinking – and could provoke conflict if Beijing isn’t prepared to back down.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

The US’ new, more confrontational approach to China’s actions in the South China Sea is based on misconceptions and disingenuous thinking – and could provoke conflict if Beijing isn’t prepared to back down.

South China Sea tensions: does the US have an endgame, beyond war?
How blue crabs, and the sea they inhabit, could make or break peace on the Korean peninsula

The agreement between North and South Korea to establish a maritime peace zone would go some way towards preventing conflict at sea.

18 May 2018 - 7:05PM

The agreement between North and South Korea to establish a maritime peace zone would go some way towards preventing conflict at sea.

How blue crabs, and the sea they inhabit, could make or break peace on the Korean peninsula
Compromise needed in the Philippines over its South China Sea policy

The Philippines needs to reach a compromise over its South China Sea claims – both with Beijing and in its own domestic politics, to prevent the dispute between idealists and realists from paralysing the country.

6 May 2018 - 6:54PM

The Philippines needs to reach a compromise over its South China Sea claims – both with Beijing and in its own domestic politics, to prevent the dispute between idealists and realists from paralysing the country.

Compromise needed in the Philippines over its South China Sea policy
Amid China-US rivalry, Asean finds a role model in Duterte’s Philippines

The Philippine leader has succeeded so far in doing what most nations in the region must do – maintain its relations with both Beijing and Washington to its own benefit, but without angering either.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM

The Philippine leader has succeeded so far in doing what most nations in the region must do – maintain its relations with both Beijing and Washington to its own benefit, but without angering either.

Amid China-US rivalry, Asean finds a role model in Duterte’s Philippines
Why Australia should refrain from challenging China with gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea

Australia, caught between China and the US, is flip-flopping on freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. However, threatening China’s territorial claims would be counterproductive.

13 Mar 2018 - 7:02PM

Australia, caught between China and the US, is flip-flopping on freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. However, threatening China’s territorial claims would be counterproductive.

Why Australia should refrain from challenging China with gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea
Muddy waters: How China-Japan territorial disputes delayed the response to the Sanchi oil spill

A slow response would worsen the already considerable environmental impact of the spill, and an agreement over the handling of such disasters should be reached to curtail further ecological damage.

22 Feb 2018 - 7:33PM

A slow response would worsen the already considerable environmental impact of the spill, and an agreement over the handling of such disasters should be reached to curtail further ecological damage.

Muddy waters: How China-Japan territorial disputes delayed the response to the Sanchi oil spill
Dilemmas of intercepting North Korean ships highlighted by US rethink on freedom of navigation

Negotiations in Vancouver over the interdiction of North Korean vessels show a difficult balance in stopping the trade of materials used in WMDs while respecting sovereign rights to legitimate use of waters.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM

Negotiations in Vancouver over the interdiction of North Korean vessels show a difficult balance in stopping the trade of materials used in WMDs while respecting sovereign rights to legitimate use of waters.

Dilemmas of intercepting North Korean ships highlighted by US rethink on freedom of navigation
As Asean chair, Singapore may find its warming ties with China turning frosty once more

However skilled Singapore’s diplomacy, the challenge of trying to forge a code of conduct between Asean and China, while keeping its relations with both China and the US on an even keel, may prove too much.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

However skilled Singapore’s diplomacy, the challenge of trying to forge a code of conduct between Asean and China, while keeping its relations with both China and the US on an even keel, may prove too much.

As Asean chair, Singapore may find its warming ties with China turning frosty once more
Any US push for maritime interceptions to counter North Korea will go nowhere

The US failure to win UN Security Council authorisation for the use of force to interdict ships stems from a lack of trust in its intentions.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

The US failure to win UN Security Council authorisation for the use of force to interdict ships stems from a lack of trust in its intentions.

Any US push for maritime interceptions to counter North Korea will go nowhere
Beijing outmanoeuvres US in the South China Sea – at least for now
Illegal fishing: A global problem, but not one the US Navy can solve

A recent proposal to treat illegal fishing as a global threat which the US Navy must address is not just over the top, but also creates an additional risk of war

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

A recent proposal to treat illegal fishing as a global threat which the US Navy must address is not just over the top, but also creates an additional risk of war

Illegal fishing: A global problem, but not one the US Navy can solve
US-China clash of civilisations is being played out in the South China Sea

The hard and soft power confrontation between the two has all the makings of an existential contest because both see it as their right and destiny to dominate and shape the international order

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

The hard and soft power confrontation between the two has all the makings of an existential contest because both see it as their right and destiny to dominate and shape the international order

US-China clash of civilisations is being played out in the South China Sea
US and China must set ground rules for freedom of navigation patrols
US ‘freedom’ patrols in the South China Sea are risky, and may backfire if China is pushed too far
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