Rumours abound that the Royal Navy is to gut its globally respected Operational Sea Training organisation in order to reallocate cash across defence. It is not simply the UK’s martial reputation that would be at stake; the evidence states that operational sea training is a crucial asset on which the Royal Navy should not skimp.
Recent Sino–Russian naval drills in the South China Sea were touted by both states as an example of an alignment in each side’s interests. But the reality is more modest, as the two powers carefully balance the strategic advantages and liabilities of their relationship.
Following the technical ruling in favour of the Philippines by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and with China increasingly flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, the EU is trying to balance supporting the rule of law with a pragmatic desire to maintain good relations with Beijing.
Officials from the US and China put on brave faces at the recently concluded US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Tensions in the maritime and cyber realms, however, are threatening to send the relationship into a downward spiral.