Why Should We Care About the U.S.-Japan-Philippines Trilateral Summit?
Why Should We Care About the U.S.-Japan-Philippines Trilateral Summit?
SeaLight Director Ray Powell and his co-host, former senior U.S. diplomat Jim Carouso discuss his week's upcoming U.S.-Japan-Philippines trilateral leaders summit with expert guests Chris Johnstone and Dindo Manhit.
APR 8, 2024
Infographic: Chinese Provocations in the South China Sea
A quick-reference guide to South China Sea hotspots.
APR 8, 2024
Why Should We Care about the Indo-Pacific?
SeaLight Director Ray Powell announces a new podcast with former diplomat Jim Carouso in which they unpack current Indo-Pacific events through the practical lens of, "Why should we care?"
APR 6, 2024
The Philippines Chooses Non-Violent Direct Action
“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
APR 2, 2024

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What is SeaLight?

SeaLight is committed to lighting up the maritime gray zone so that bullies and criminals can no longer hide in the darkness while they harass law-abiding fisherfolk; destroy the marine environment and fish stocks; prevent legitimate exploration and survey activities; and violate international law and other countries' sovereign rights.
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Latest Resources

South China Sea-related materials, maps, media, databases, and more. Collected and curated in our searchable research library.
Nearly A Decade after the Philippines' Legal Victory, Beijing continues to Militarize Islands in the South China Sea
Published APR 13, 2024
Infographic of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea overlaid with the Philippines' rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Why Should We Care About the Indo-Pacific? (Podcast)
Published APR 4, 2024
Join hosts Ray Powell and Jim Carouso as they delve into the crucial issues defining the 21st century's pivotal region--one that spans from Hollywood to Bollywood. Learn to navigate its most important geopolitical, economic, military, environmental and cultural challenges, with a practical emphasis on why it matters. Hosted by seasoned diplomatic and national security practitioners, each episode offers insightful analysis and thought-provoking discussions. From bustling cities like Beijing, Mumbai and Tokyo, through the diverse countries of Southeast Asia, down to the Australian Outback and the pristine islands of the South Pacific, expert guests help Jim and Ray explore the region's defining issues, emergent crises and future trajectories. Discover the interplay of the U.S.-China strategic competition against the interests of rapidly emerging powers like India and Indonesia. Explore the complexities of regional alliances old and new like ASEAN, AUKUS and "the Quad". Understand the forces driving hotspots like the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait, South China Sea and the China-India border ... and most importantly, why we should care.
China, the U.S. and the West Philippine Sea Disputes: A Conversation
Published MAR 30, 2024
Philippine vlogger and journalist Richard Heydarian talks to SeaLight Director Ray Powell about ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
Countering Coercion
Published MAR 30, 2024
Managing Chinese Gray Zone Activity in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region
An Exclusive Interview with Ray Powell (South China Sea Newswire)
Published MAR 19, 2024
Ray Powell is the Director of SeaLight, a maritime transparency initiative of the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation at Stanford University, and a member of the South China Sea NewsWire Advisory Board. This interview was conducted on March 12, 2024.
Responses Against China's Coercion in the Indo-Pacific
Published MAR 17, 2024
How does a government respond to a threat or coercion by a larger and better-resourced military? That is a question faced by countries across the Indo-Pacific when it comes to actions conducted by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan and the Philippines have experienced similar, yet unique, forms of PRC coercion that have resulted in both capitals developing analogous responses that fall within an analytical spectrum. This report focuses on how these two Indo-Pacific countries responded to actions conducted by the military apparatus of the PRC since 2022.
SeaLight Director interview, ABS-CBN News (Manila)
Published MAR 3, 2024
Headstart: Karen Davila talks to Maritime Security Expert Ray Powell for his insights on the latest incident of 'dangerous maneuvers' by China in the West Philippine Sea.
Assertive Transparency in the Gray Zone with Ray Powell - Sea Control podcast
Published FEB 9, 2024
Ray Powell joins the program to discuss his recent work “Game Changer: The Philippines’ Assertive Transparency Campaign: How the Philippines Rewrote the Counter Gray Zone Playbook in 2023.”
Tracking Tensions at Second Thomas Shoal
Published FEB 1, 2024
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative report tracking the dramatic increase in PRC and Philippine ships during resupply missions at Second Thomas Shoal over time.
‘Speed forward, fight close and hit hard’ — How China won the Battle of the Paracel Islands
Published JAN 24, 2024
Analysis of the history of the Paracel Island group leading up to the 1974 battle in which China expelled South Vietnamese troops and took full control of the archipelago.
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In The News

Our finds on the latest articles and information from outside of the SeaLight team.
Philippines plans ambitious exercise with U.S. as concerns over China grow
Published APR 17, 2024
The Philippines and the United States are preparing to hold their most ambitious joint military exercise yet next week as tensions between the Philippines and China escalate in the South China Sea, according to more than a dozen officials.
Chinese militia boats painted white to look like coast guard —PCG
Published APR 17, 2024
Chinese maritime militia vessels spotted at Bajo de Masinloc were found to be painted similar to their Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) counterparts.
Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte claims China threatened war over South China Sea if status quo not kept
Published APR 16, 2024
Former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said Chinese President Xi Jinping had strongly warned him against drilling for oil in the disputed waters. Duterte said he understood that China would ‘go to war’ if the Philippines asserted its rights in the South China Sea.
A ‘New Trilateral Chapter’ for the United States, Japan, and the Philippines
Published APR 16, 2024
President Joe Biden and his counterparts, Kishida Fumio and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., held the first-ever U.S.-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit on April 11. It was a manifestation of the importance of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, which emphasizes both military and economic security in cooperation with partners and allies. The Biden administration has emphasized that both economic and military support are necessary to ensure deep and resilient partnerships. That is especially true in this case, as the three leaders pledged to work toward a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific “for decades to come.”
China Intercepts US Ally's Ships Near Disputed Waters
Published APR 16, 2024
China's Coast Guard intercepted and shadowed Philippine government vessels over the weekend in an effort to block them from operating within the U.S. ally's internationally recognized maritime zone.
Philippines may attract more security deals with its transparency campaign
Published APR 14, 2024
The Philippines should expand its assertive transparency strategy at sea and go as far as encouraging its neighbors to carry out a similar initiative, which has enabled the Southeast Asian nation to secure key security deals in the face of an increasingly aggressive China, a geopolitical expert said.
Third China Coast Guard ship to join 'vessel swarm' at Bajo de Masinloc — analyst
Published APR 13, 2024
The China Coast Guard (CCG) has deployed another ship to join the buildup of Chinese vessels at Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, a security analyst reported early Saturday morning.
China Coast Guard blocks Philippines vessels as maritime tension grows
Published APR 14, 2024
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at A vessel from China’s coastguard has blocked two Philippine government ships for hours a short distance from the south-east Asian country’s coast, in a further escalation of tension between the two nations in the disputed South China Sea.
PCG: 25 Chinese militia vessels, 2 China Coast Guard ships spotted at Bajo de Masinloc
Published APR 12, 2024
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday confirmed the presence of at least 25 Chinese militia ships at Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, more than a four-fold increase compared to its presence last February at the rich fishing ground.
Biden seeks $128M budget for EDCA projects
Published APR 13, 2024
US President Joe Biden is seeking $128 million in congressional allocation budget to execute projects for Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in the Philippines, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday (local time).
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