On May 24, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) operated within 12 nautical miles (nm) of Mischief Reef, a disputed feature in the South China Sea (SCS) controlled by the People’s Republic of China, but also claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The Dewey’s action evidently challenged China’s right to control maritime zones adjacent to the reef —which was declared by the South China Sea arbitration to be nothing more than a low tide elevation on the Philippine continental shelf.
Dr. Isaac B. Kardon (孔适海) is Assistant Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and a core member of the China Maritime Studies Institute. He is also a non-resident post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University with the China & the World Program. His areas of study and specialization are Chinese politics and law, with research and writing focused on East Asian maritime disputes, PRC foreign policy, and the law of the sea. Prior to joining the faculty at the Naval War College, Isaac was a Visiting Scholar at NYU Law’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute (2015-2016) and Adjunct Research Fellow at the National Defense University (2011-2015). During dissertation fieldwork on a Fulbright-Hays award in China (2014-15), he was a Visiting Scholar with the PRC National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan, China, and a Visiting Fellow at Academia Sinica in Taipei. From 2009-2011, he was a Research Analyst at the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs. Isaac received a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University in 2016, where his dissertation “Rising Power, Creeping Jurisdiction: China’s Law of the Sea” analyzed China’s practice of the law of the sea, focusing on the PRC’s role in the development of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) regime. He holds an M.Phil from Oxford University (St. Antony’s College) in Modern Chinese Studies, and a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College. He speaks, reads, and writes Italian, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.
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