The United States should act true to its 1983 Oceans Policy of observing and respecting foreign maritime claims only to the extent that other coastal states respect U.S. rights at sea.
James Kraska is Howard S. Levie Professor of International Law at the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, U.S. Naval War College, Distinguished Fellow at the Law of the Sea Institute, University of California at Berkeley School of Law, and Senior Fellow, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia School of Law.
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China’s capture of a U.S. underwater drone violates three norms embedded in international maritime law and reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other treaties.
The Philippine-China Arbitration Award was legally correct, but missed the distinction between lawful foreign military activities on a coastal state’s continental shelf and unlawful foreign activities on the continental shelf that affect the coastal states sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its resources.
The US and China have agreed to rules of behavior for safety of air-to-air encounters of military aircraft. The deal is supposed to avert aviation incidents in international airspace, but rather than help the US, it is merely another plank in China's unremitting campaign of lawfare.
Is it lawful to conduct submarine espionage in a territorial sea, and if not, what recourse does a coastal state have to stop the activity?
The past two FON operations in the South China Sea are models in how to squander flawless operational execution with confused, inconsistent, and ultimately damaging messaging.