Sand Cay is the fourth largest of the features controlled by Vietnam in the Spratly Islands. Since August 2011 Vietnam has expanded the reef by 21,000 square meters and has constructed new military structures with defensive capabilities such as gun installations.
The Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. Signed August 4, 1995, entered into force December 11, 2001. 1995 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. 1995 FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas. 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported… Read More »Fisheries Agreements
Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have reached their lowest point in years and could get worse. In October 2018 the Supreme Court of South Korea handed down a ruling that affirmed the right of a group of ROK citizens to sue three Japanese companies for damages stemming from forced labor during the 1910–45 Japanese occupation. Japanese officials disagree with the characterization of “forced labor” and maintain that this issue was settled with the 1965 Korea-Japan normalization treaty, where Japan agreed to provide money and loans as compensation. For years, South Korean courts blocked lawsuits that sought… Read More »The Rough State of Japan–South Korea Relations: Friction and Disputes in the Maritime Domain
In Northeast Asia, maritime territorial and boundary disputes contribute to friction among South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and China. As inter-Korean diplomatic progress has stalled, border tensions between the North and South have increased, including along their disputed maritime boundary—the Northern Limit Line. The disputes over the Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), which are administered by South Korea but also claimed by Japan, and demarcation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the surrounding seas contribute to strained relations between Seoul and Tokyo. Likewise, relations between China and South Korea are challenged by unresolved EEZ boundaries and widespread illicit fishing by Chinese… Read More »The Korean Peninsula and the Maritime Domain: Peace or Conflict Zone?
In this episode of Asia Insight, M. Taylor Fravel, principal investigator of the Maritime Awareness Project (MAP), discusses key maritime issues in East Asia related to the South China Sea, the East China Sea, Taiwan, and the U.S. role in the region. He is joined by two other members of NBR’s MAP team, Karolos Karnikis and John S. Van Oudenaren. Listen to the podcast here. M. Taylor Fravel is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also serves on the editorial boards of… Read More »Sovereignty and the Seas: Maritime Disputes in East Asia
North Korea’s development of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines would enhance its nuclear deterrent capability, making preemptive strikes against the country risky. South Korea has also declared its intention to develop nuclear-powered submarines to enhance its anti-submarine capability. While it is questionable whether either plan will materialize, as both countries face their own obstacles, the race for nuclear-powered submarines could heighten the insecurity on the Korean Peninsula. This essay will examine each country’s plans and assess the implications for regional security. North Korea The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is advancing its capacity to launch ballistic missiles… Read More »A Race for Nuclear-Powered Submarines on the Korean Peninsula?
North and South Korean defense leaders set lofty goals for reducing tension in multiple arenas via the 2018 Agreement on the Implementation of the Historic Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain (also known as the Comprehensive Military Agreement, or CMA). The agreement included some specific steps in the maritime domain. Article 3 reaffirms general-level talks that took place in 2004 on the “prevention of accidental naval clashes in the West Sea,” which focused on control of naval and civilian vessels, the sharing of information to mitigate conflict at sea, and the elimination of propaganda activities along the Military Demarcation Line… Read More »The Politics of Implementing the Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement in the Maritime Domain
Land reclamation work on Fiery Cross Reef, which is controlled by China, began in the summer of 2014. A decision to expand the reef was reported in the Hong Kong press in June, and commercial satellite images showing the extent of land reclamation work became available in October. In total, approximately 2.7 square kilometers of land have been added to the reef. The most important strategic asset added at the site is a 3,125-meter runway, and the reef is also host to two helipads.
Gaven Reef has been enlarged by Chinese land reclamation ships by 13.6 hectares. The low-tide elevation hosts a small garrison and a structure that may be an anti-aircraft tower.
Land reclamation activity on Kennan Reef, also known as Hughes Reef, began in May 2014 on the northeastern part. Reclamation work has expanded the reef by approximately 76,000 square meters. A large central structure and possibly an anti-aircraft system have been built during this time.