Philip Bowring has been based in Asia for forty-four years writing on regional financial and political issues successively as correspondent for the Financial Times, editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and columnist for the International Herald Tribune. He currently writes columns for the South China Morning Post, www.asiasentinel.com, a website of which he is a founder, and The Globalist. He has just completed a history of Maritime Southeast Asia, focused mainly on the pre-colonial eras, to be published in 2018.

NYR DAILY

Indonesia & China: The Sea Between

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Yanqi Lake, China, May 15, 2017

Indonesia announced on July 14 that it was renaming a part of the South China Sea the “North Natuna Sea.” China immediately demanded a retraction—which it will not get. At no point since the fifteenth century had a Chinese government been actively involved in the seas that it now claims on the basis of history.