Julian Ku

Julian Ku is the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra University School of Law. He is a co-founder of Opinio Juris, the leading blog on international law.

Subscribe to this Lawfare contributor via RSS.


Tracking Compliance with the South China Sea Arbitral Award: China’s 2017 Summer Fishing Moratorium May Rekindle Conflict with the Philippines

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture's summer fishing moratorium, which includes many parts of the South China Sea, confirms that China continues to violate important elements of international maritime law and threatens to undermine the budding China-Philippines rapprochement.

South China Sea

One Less Thing to Worry About: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Didn’t Actually Call for a Blockade of China’s South China Sea Islands

In his written answer, Tillerson is clearly speaking of denying China access “if a contingency occurs” and the artificial islands “pose a threat to the United States or its allies and partners.”

South China Sea

The Nonexistent Legal Basis for China’s Seizure of the U.S. Navy’s Drone in the South China Sea

Yesterday China seized a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) while it was conducting routine operations about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines. On the available facts, there is simply no plausible international legal basis for China’s action.

Transition 2016

Will President-elect Trump Fire the First Shot in the U.S.-China (Economic Sanctions) War?

Last summer, I pointed out that U.S. law already authorizes the President to impose targeted economic sanctions to deter or punish Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. That none were imposed, however, is hardly surprising. Although U.S. sanctions are often threatened, the U.S. government has rarely, if ever, imposed economic sanctions on a Chinese company or individual, even for offenses such as cyber-theft or illegal trade with Iran.

South China Sea

Tracking China’s Compliance with the South China Sea Arbitral Award: Traditional Fishing Rights Inside the Lagoon at Scarborough Shoal

Recent news reports suggest that Filipino fisherman are able to approach but may not enter the lagoon at Scarborough. This does not change our previous assessment that China is compliant with the arbitral tribunal’s ruling regarding Submission 10, given the broad terms of the decision with respect to China and the Philippines’ authority to define the scope of traditional fishing rights.