Latest in South China Sea
An overview of the difficult diplomatic and legal consequences.
Just weeks after China’s roll-out of the world’s largest deep sea offshore platform, further developments in China’s exploration efforts affirm the country’s intent to explore the South China Sea’s oil and gas resources, and promise to add fuel to the region’s already simmering tensions.
In the Spratlys, the routine exercise of freedom of navigation is vastly preferable to the reactive FONOP.
The Trump administration this week dispatched Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to send an unequivocal message that China cannot use its military or economic might to coerce other South China Sea claimants.
Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace southeast of Hong Kong last Wednesday, less than a week after a similar intercept of a WC-135 Constant Phoenix radiation detection aircraft.
This week, the United States navy carried out what may be its first Freedom of Navigation Exercises (FONOPs) in the South China Sea since President Trump took office, just a few days after a close encounter between American and Chinese aircraft.
The Dewey challenged China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” to Mischief Reef as one of the features in the South China Sea and China’s claim of “adjacent” waters surrounding it.
The US Conducts the First South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation of the Trump Era, But It Was “Off the Record”
The Trump administration may have authorized its first "freedom of navigation operation" in the South China Sea, but no U.S. government officials will go on the record to provide details.