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Transparency has not "failed" the Philippines
Transparency has not "failed" the Philippines
Recent debate which casts the Philippines' assertive transparency campaign as as a "failure" for not deterring Beijing's South China Sea aggression risks missing the forest for the trees. Manila has gained much by turning on the cameras.
JUL 15, 2024
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This Was No "Accident"
President Marcos laid out the principled high ground upon which the Philippines stands at Second Thomas Shoal. His spokespeople should avoid yielding it back by excusing Beijing's mendacity.
JUN 23, 2024
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China at Whitsun Reef: Effective Control by Overwhelming Presence
A new satellite photo of the maritime militia swarm at Whitsun Reef shows how China is committed to maintaining its effective control over this maritime feature within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. How long before its other vessel swarms at features even closer to the Philippine archipelago--Sabina Shoal and Iroquois Reef--grow to look like this?
MAY 19, 2024
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Flashpoint: Sabina Shoal
Is China building another artificial feature at Sabina Shoal? The Philippines certainly suspects it has those designs. With everything else swirling around the South China Sea, why should this be what we're talking about now? SeaLight explains below.
MAY 13, 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.
Voices from the Sea
Published MAY 25, 2024
Filipino fishermen from Zambales speak out and tell us their experiences with the China Coast Guard and maritime militia, which continue to encroach on the West Philippine Sea.
Why Should We Care if China is Harassing Philippine Ships?
Published MAY 21, 2024
Jim Carouso and Ray Powell interview the Philippine Coast Guard's spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Jay Tarriela, about China's continuing harassment of Philippine ships at a time when the mist of the previous day's water-cannoning near Scarborough Shoal was still dissipating. They discuss the importance of countering Chinese aggression and protecting the international rules-based order. They ask Jay to weigh the benefits of the Philippines' transparency campaign against its risks, and to comment on ASEAN's reluctance to publicly back Manila in its maritime struggles and its inability to produce a South China Sea Code of Conduct.
The Six-Country Fight Over These Tiny, Terrible Islands
Published MAY 17, 2024
Well-produced Wendover Productions overview of the South China Sea dispute.
YouTube Channel: Why Should We Care About the Indo-Pacific?
Published APR 21, 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.
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.
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In The News

Our finds on the latest articles and information from outside of the SeaLight team.
Why is the China Coast Guard’s biggest ship still in Escoda Shoal?
Published JUL 17, 2024
For over two months now, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s BRP Teresa Magbanua has been keeping watch over Escoda (Sabina) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, because of concerns that China is trying to build yet another “artificial island.”
Philippine Marine Corps To Secure Maritime Routes With New Unit
Published JUL 17, 2024
The Maritime Security Battalion aims to secure Philippine maritime routes and bring the Philippine Marine Corps into the littorals.
New deal establishes a hotline Chinese and Philippine presidents can use to stop clashes at sea
Published JUL 16, 2024
A recently signed agreement will open a direct line of communication between the presidential offices of China and the Philippines to help prevent any new confrontation from spiraling out of control in the disputed South China Sea, according to highlights of the accord seen by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Russian, Chinese Navies “Destroy” Enemy Submarine During Joint Sea-2024 Naval Drills In South China Sea
Published JUL 16, 2024
In yet another display of military cooperation amid tensions with the US, ships from the Russian Federation and China successfully destroyed a simulated enemy submarine during the “Joint Sea-2024” exercise.
Joint Chinese, Russian Naval Drills Start in South China Sea
Published JUL 15, 2024
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Russian Navy launched a joint naval exercise on Sunday that will take place in the South China Sea. Also on Sunday, a separate joint naval patrol by the two navies also entered the South China Sea.
Exclusive: Philippines turned down US help amid South China Sea tensions - military chief
Published JUL 6, 2024
The Philippines has turned down offers from the United States to assist operations in the South China Sea, after a flare-up with China over missions to resupply Filipino troops on a contested shoal, its military chief said.
China’s West Philippine Sea gray zone tactics: It’s still war Read more: https://www.inquirer.net/408111/chinas-west-philippine-sea-gray-zone-tactics-its-still-war/#ixzz8f9uqY0If
Published JUL 6, 2024
While still outside the definition of outright war, China’s attacks against the Philippines point to just one end game which is complete control of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and other areas in South China Sea (SCS) that the Asian behemoth claims to own.
Japan confirms China set up buoy over its southern continental shelf
Published JUL 7, 2024
The Japanese government said Friday it has confirmed China has installed a buoy in the high seas over Japan's southern continental shelf in the Pacific Ocean, in a move that could further strain bilateral relations.
Philippine military chief warns his forces will fight back if assaulted again in disputed sea
Published JUL 4, 2024
Philippine forces will defend themselves with “the same level of force” if they come under assault again from China’s coast guard in the disputed South China Sea, where Chinese personnel armed with machetes and spears injured Filipino navy personnel and damaged two of their boats in a chaotic faceoff last month, the Philippine military chief said Thursday.
Philippines hopes to sign key defense pact with Japan
Published JUL 6, 2024
The Philippines' military chief said Thursday he hoped a key defense pact with Japan allowing for the deployment of troops on each other's territory will be signed at security talks next week.
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JUL 12, 2023
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