President Duterte during an award ceremony on Monay (Photo: NPR)
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U.S. Response to the South China Sea Arbitration and the Limits of the Diplomatic “Shamefare” Option
In a post last week, I argued that the recent UN Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitral award against China opens the legal door to more aggressive U.S. freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) to directly challenge Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea. This week, I turn to another possible U.S. response to the arbitral award: diplomatic “shamefare.”
The wait is over: a judgment has been issued in the Philippines v. China South China Sea arbitration. A five-judge tribunal constituted under the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague has released its much-anticipated Award concerning the Philippines’ challenge to a number of China’s maritime claims and activities in the region.
The United States has been unable to synchronize successful air and sea freedom of navigation (FON) operations in the South China Sea with an erratic diplomatic message and a legal case that is too clever by half. Our colleagues Bonnie Glaser and Peter Dutton tried to reconnect these dimensions when they wrote in the The National Interest that while the administration has not done a “stellar job of explaining its actions,” the U.S.