Can culture always be used as a tool for positive public diplomacy?
Protesters staged one of Vietnam's largest ever anti-China demonstrations on Sunday, decrying Beijing's deployment of a deep-water drilling rig in contested waters as territorial tensions soar. Some 1,000 people, from war veterans to students, waved banners saying "China don't steal our oil" and "Silence is cowardly" – a dig at Hanoi's handling of the dispute –and sang patriotic songs in a park opposite the Chinese embassy.
Vietnam has arrested two democracy activists for posting articles critical of the government on the Internet, signalling a continued crackdown on dissent despite the early release of three dissidents last month.
The Philippine navy will soon return to a South China Sea island it lost to Vietnam 40 years ago to drink beer and play volleyball with Vietnamese sailors, symbolising how once-suspicious neighbours are cooperating in the face of China's assertiveness in disputed waters.
The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has drawn nearly every navy with a presence in Southeast Asia to aid in the search effort. The United States easily has the biggest and best equipped navy in the Pacific and was fast to participate after the flight carrying 239 passengers and crew vanished from radar on Saturday.
A photo of Greg Kleven, dated April 1967, shows him posing in front of a tin-roofed hooch, wearing an undershirt so stained it matches the sand beneath his feet. In his right hand, he is holding an M-16 rifle. His shaved head is cocked to the left and he's sticking out his tongue in a half smile. The 18-year-old enlistee is three months into his tour of Vietnam in a Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance company, a special operations unit similar to the Navy SEALs. He looks brash and ready to take on any Viet Cong who cross his path.