China is accusing the United States of changing its South China Sea policy and taking a side among the claimants. But that accusation is flawed.
Jonathan G. Odom is a judge advocate (licensed attorney) in the U.S. Navy. Currently, he serves as a military professor of international law at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Previously, he has served as the oceans policy adviser in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense and as a military professor of law and maritime security at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department of Defense or any of its components. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
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State parties to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea have a lawful and peaceful way to uphold the international rule of law and counter China’s disregard of a 2016 arbitral tribunal’s legally binding ruling on the South China Sea.