China’s state-owned Xinhua News has reported the opening of a maritime rescue facility on Yongshu Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), one of the artificial islands it has built in the Spratly Islands region of the South China Sea.
Latest in South China Sea
In a cabinet meeting on Dec. 18, the government of Japan adopted new National Defense Program Guidelines that call for the “drastic strengthening of Japan’s defense capabilities.” The new guidelines adopt a “multidimensional joint defense force” strategy, based on investment in technological advancement.
At the ASEAN Regional Forum on Aug.
For many who follow developments in the South China Sea, the July 2016 tribunal ruling in the Philippines’ case against China has become the equivalent of the birth of Jesus in the Gregorian calendar: Developments are considered B.A. and A.A.—Before Award and After Award.
In the first year after the award, compliance was fair: Beijing largely kept its actions, if not its words, within the letter of the ruling.
The most recent U.S. freedom-of-navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea garnered the usual global headlines, but it also shows how ineffective such operations have been in deterring Chinese actions in the region. It was so inconsequential that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not even be bothered to come up with new phrases in what is now a ritualized denunciation.
Editor’s Note: Tension between the United States and China is rising, and several problems in the region could even lead to war—a frightening risk that deserves serious attention. Oriana Mastro, my colleague at Georgetown, looks at an even harder question: If China is involved in a war, how might it end? She explores China's war termination behavior and concludes that Beijing evinces a number of characteristics that will make it harder to end wars once they start.
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.
Commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces says FONOPs and Flyovers in the South China Sea will Continue, while More Changes Are Expected for U.S. Military Brass in Asia
Editor's note: After this edition, we will publish Water Wars every other week.
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.