The United States should act true to its 1983 Oceans Policy of observing and respecting foreign maritime claims only to the extent that other coastal states respect U.S. rights at sea.
Latest in UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
China’s capture of a U.S. underwater drone violates three norms embedded in international maritime law and reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other treaties.
The continued significance of the South China Sea Arbital award’ depends almost entirely on the U.S. government’s reaction.
While substantial ink has been spilled (and continues to be spilled) over Russia’s de facto annexation of Crimea and
The United States may need to support the Philippines’ legal rights in some ways other than simply launching more aggressive freedom of navigation operations or continuing its diplomatic “shamefare” campaign. This post considers the legal basis for one rarely discussed option: the use of targeted economic sanctions.
U.S. Response to the South China Sea Arbitration and the Limits of the Diplomatic “Shamefare” Option
Diplomacy can accomplish great things. But if the United States wants to use the UNCLOS PCA award to apply pressure or impose costs on China, it has a lot more work to do.
One of the big takeaways from the South China Sea arbitration is that the high-tide features in the Spratly Islands are mere “rocks” under Article 121(3) of UNCLOS. This outcome is not only significant for the South China Sea; it also suggests something about the status of disputed features in the East China Sea: the Senkaku Islands.
While the unanimous landmark decision in the arbitration case between the Philippines and China deals a death knell to China’s infamous nine dash line, the international community should not lose sight of the fact that Beijing’s indefensible claims in the South China Sea are but one part of a concerted effort to change the status quo and alter the rules-based legal order that has governed the world’s oceans for centuries.
As the US determines its response to the South China Sea arbital award, it should consider the legal foundation of one obvious option: new freedom of navigation operations conducted without innocent passage within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial islands.
A summary of the key claims and holdings in the Philippines v. China South China Sea arbitration and a few initial takeaways on the nearly across-the-board win for the Philippines.