Julian Ku

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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.

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Asia Pacific

Congress Leads on Taiwan Again by Opening the Door to High-Level US Government Contacts

The Taiwan Travel Act, which passed the Senate on Feb. 28 and is heading to the president for his signature, will have limited legal force since it does not require the president to do anything he cannot already do under the U.S. Constitution. But that does not mean the law is purely symbolic. It is likely to have a significant impact on U.S.-Taiwan policy, and consequently, on the increasingly fragile U.S.-China relationship.

South China Sea

The British are Coming to the South China Sea, and It's About Time

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recently announced that the Royal Navy would be conducting a South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) after its visit to Australia later this year. His statement also contained a rare full-throated specific endorsement of U.S. FONOPs in the region. “We absolutely support the U.S. approach on this, we very much support what the U.S.


The South China Sea and China's "Four Sha" Claim: New Legal Theory, Same Bad Argument

The Washington Free Beacon reports that China may be backing away from its most controversial legal justification in the South China Sea: the “Nine-Dash Line.” Officials from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs advanced a new legal theory at a closed-door meeting with U.S.

Aegis Paper Series

Forcing China to Accept that International Law Restricts Cyber Warfare May Not Actually Benefit the U.S.

​This past June, after U.N.-sponsored negotiations on the application of international law to cyber warfare collapsed, lead U.S. negotiator Michele Markoff released a blistering statement criticizing those that “believe their states are free to act in or through cyberspace to achieve their political ends with no limits or constraints on their actions. That is a dangerous and unsupportable view.”

South China Sea

Assessing the South China Sea Arbitral Award after One Year: Why China Won and the U.S. is Losing

A year ago today, an arbitral tribunal formed pursuant to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea issued a blockbuster award finding much of China’s conduct in the South China Sea in violation of international law. As I detailed that day on this blog and elsewhere, the Philippines won about as big a legal victory as it could have expected. But as many of us also warned that day, a legal victory is not the same as an actual victory.


Grammar Matters: Did China Really Declare that the Entire Sino-UK Joint Declaration is “Not At All Binding”? Maybe Not.

Last Friday, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) made global headlines with his remarks on how the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration was a “historical document” that “no longer has any practical significance” and that is “not at all binding for” the Chinese government’s management of Hong Kong.