Collin Koh 🇸🇬🇺🇦 Profile picture
Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Focuses on naval affairs, maritime security and geopolitics in SE Asia and SCS especially.
Norah Huang Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
May 13 21 tweets 4 min read
In line with the prevailing context, this ASEAN-US Special Summit emphasized post-COVID economic recovery, sustainable development, education and public health constituting the bulk of contents in the White House factsheet, with just 1 smaller section on maritime cooperation. Link to the factsheet: whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/…
May 12 17 tweets 3 min read
PRC's Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issue new guidelines on litigation for marine natural resources and environmental management. Some preliminary observations about potential ramifications. THREAD follows. spp.gov.cn/spp/xwfbh/wsfb… Scope of this set of guidelines includes the maritime zones per UNCLOS, though added "other waters under national jurisdiction" [我国管辖的其他海域]. This is similar language found in the Coast Guard Law promulgated in February 2021, which would South China Sea waters. 1/
Mar 23 29 tweets 6 min read
"For me what is important is the reported heavy casualties at colonel and above, the backbone of the Russian army, not just generals." The loss of battalion leaders tends to bear greater morale impact than the loss of generals on the rank and file. reuters.com/world/europe/r… Having served in an infantry battalion before, I can't emphasize more how much a battalion CO often plays the fatherly figure to the rank and file across the companies. Battalions are usually the basic fighting unit, and hence tend to be cohesive.
Jan 14 4 tweets 2 min read
Before anyone labels the confirmed BrahMos sale to the Philippines as a breakthrough move, do note that Indonesia has operated the ship-based Russian-origin Yakhont and Vietnam the land-based variant Bastion-P for some time. India is certainly a new entrant to the game. Indonesian Navy official release on the Yakhont test-launch in April 2011, from the frigate KRI Oswald Siahaan. tni.mil.id/view-26141-rud…
Nov 7, 2021 14 tweets 3 min read
Besides the genius of “Tiger of Malaya”, what’s most interesting in the course of my research that prepared my lecture on Malayan Campaign to the officer cadets back then, was the handy tactical pamphlet issued to each soldier, Read This Alone - And The War Can be Won. What’s so interesting about this pamphlet is to start with the background in the run-up to December 1941. War in China back then bogged down; it’s akin to a python attempting to swallow an elephant instead of a deer. Imperial Japan needed resources to fuel this war effort. 1/
May 15, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
MINI-THREAD: Yesterday (15/5) at Zhoushan, the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy dispatched the 38th Escort Task Force for counter-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden. Notably, destroyer Nanjing debuts for such mission. My updated table below. xinhuanet.com/english/2021-0… My first observation is that from 2019, the composition of a typical ETF has stabilized to 1 destroyer, 1 frigate and 1 replenishment oiler. Prior to that, shortfalls in destroyers would mean either 2 frigates were deployed, or that there'll be LPDs filling the slot sometimes. 1/
Apr 9, 2021 24 tweets 6 min read
THREAD: following reports of PLA Navy Type-022 Houbei catamaran missile fast attack craft harassing a motorboat chartered by ABS-CBN journalists in the Spratlys, Beijing's pretense about just using "white hulls" to promote SCS peace and stability is well over. Context is impt. In recent years, especially after the disparate PRC maritime law enforcement agencies were unified under a single China Coast Guard, there has been internal debate within the agency about the challenges they face when carrying out maritime sovereignty and rights protection. 1/
Feb 16, 2021 8 tweets 3 min read
That's a load of crap, if you bother to dig out the list of transgressions which took place since late 2016. Crying victim and blame-push in order to justify asking Americans to pay to keep VFA? Want to have your cake and eat it, I suppose. cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/2/16… Exhibit 1: “It is not enough that China now gives the impression that it is giving ‘permission’ to our fisherfolk to fish in the waters around the shoal… giving permission is an act of ownership, it should not stop our claim of ownership over the shoal.” philstar.com/headlines/2016…
Jan 24, 2021 11 tweets 5 min read
@fravel Thank you Professor Taylor. Under Ch3, clause 20, the CCG is authorized to order foreign organizations or individuals to cease such unlawful activities or to dismantle/remove the structures, floating or fixed, within waters and on islands and reefs under national jurisdiction... @fravel And the subsequent mention is that if the foreign organizations or individuals fail to heed those orders, CCG is authorized to stop those activities (i.e. construction of those structures) or forcibly dismantle/remove them...
Jan 22, 2021 32 tweets 7 min read
THREAD: The 25th Standing Committee session of PRC's 13th National People's Congress passed the Coast Guard Law, which has been under deliberation and opened to "public consultation" for the past few months since last year. Some key takes below. reuters.com/article/us-chi… 1. There has been much reported in the press focusing on the authorization of CCG to open fire at foreign vessels. The first that came to my mind is that beyond how it could impact regional maritime flashpoints e.g. SCS disputes, it's a common practice worldwide anyway. 1/
Jan 14, 2021 19 tweets 4 min read
THREAD: Since there's no background context provided here, I shall chip in to dispel the notion that the SCS arbitration brought forth by then Aquino Administration against Beijing in 2013 is "destabilizing" as claimed here. Scarborough Shoal falls within Philippine EEZ. Due to its capacity shortfalls in enforcing fishery protection, Manila's enforcement in the shoal against foreign fishermen operating there had at best been intermittent throughout the decades. 1/
Jan 12, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
It's certainly more than 50% efficacy as reported last month. Though barely more so, by 0.4%. reuters.com/article/us-hea… ImageImage Meanwhile, you can count on GT to strike a very upbeat tone that most likely won't help ameliorate public concerns about transparency over Beijing's vaccine data, nor will it help ameliorate negative public acceptance in several countries e.g. Philippines. globaltimes.cn/page/202101/12…
Nov 14, 2020 12 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: Regarding such claim, we should of course exercise some caution and seek to ascertain its veracity. One way is PRC official publication of the circumstances of this test and outcomes, or Pentagon confirmation. Either way may not be forthcoming. scmp.com/news/china/mil… 1/: as an engineer by training, I’m aware there are practical limits to systems. It’s not as simple as launching a missile and expecting it to hit. A host of physical factors has to be accounted for. Even more complicated is having a ballistic missile hit a moving target.
Nov 13, 2020 20 tweets 4 min read
Generally I find RAND research outputs really insightful and useful. But sorry to say that this report is afflicted by certain stereotypes, and some wishful thinking about areas for future cooperation. rand.org/pubs/research_… THREAD 1/: As of this writing, Singapore’s economic performance is sluggish, and national elections in 2020 marked a
transition to a new generation of leaders. Given these considerations, Singapore is undertaking
an effort to boost its ties with Beijing (p.12)
Aug 24, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
THREAD: so much to unpack in one sentence: "Worsening China-US ties are not good to overseas Chinese communities, considering that Chinese Singaporeans make up 75 percent of its population." H/t: @SCS_Disputes globaltimes.cn/content/119827… Singaporean Chinese, not Chinese Singaporean. Nation first, ethnicity second. This is what defines Singapore as a multi-ethnic society, where national identify binds diverse ethnicity and cultures together. And this has been drilled in primary school since my times at least. 1/
Jul 10, 2020 33 tweets 7 min read
Just witnessed it myself after I fulfilled my citizenry rights: long queues with minimal enforcement of social distancing, disposable gloves dispensed with just to speed up the process. In summary, holding an election amidst a pandemic is simply careless and opportunistic. I’m not a political scientist who specialises in Singapore’s politics but as a concerned citizen born and bred in this tiny island city state, I’ll like to offer some observations. A long thread to share with those of you who may be keen on SG general elections yesterday. 1/
Jun 29, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
Short thread: Recall despite the Asian Financial Crisis in 1990s and global economic recession in 2008, Singapore persisted with its defense programmes. Pandemic and its economic uncertainty now puts this "neither feast nor famine" policy in question. straitstimes.com/singapore/saf-… Some useful materials here from Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen's SAF Day 2020 interview can be found here, including transcript of the chat, and accompanying materials on key training initiatives and defense acquisition programmes. sgpc.gov.sg/media_releases… 1/
May 15, 2019 73 tweets 26 min read
EVENT THREAD: International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC) 2019, jointly organised by the Republic of Singapore Navy, RSIS, and with support from Experia. RADM Lew Chuen Hong, Chief of RSN, at his opening remarks for #IMSC2019, highlighting the long history of use of the seas and oceans by mankind as a global commons. But he also opined that “shared spaces” within this domain also brought about friction between nation-states.
Feb 21, 2019 24 tweets 5 min read
THREAD: in the wake of the DW interview with Singapore defense minister Dr Ng Eng Hen there’s been some well-considered criticism amongst my foreign peers and colleagues about what he said. I want to offer my personal thoughts. See the said DW interview: m.dw.com/en/singapore-d… 1/ Singapore as a small country lacking geostrategic depth, surrounded by much bigger neighbours, is a geographical constant that we can’t change. We live with this reality, and make the best out of it. Ultimately, bottom line is that our national interests count.