U.S.-China Relations

The U.S.-China Battle in the Post-Arbitration South China Sea: Diverging and Converging Interests

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One incident after another has played out across the stage of the South China Sea since 2009, the year Malaysia and Vietnam filed a joint submission on the limits of their continental shelf claims with a UN commission. The tension in the South China Sea further escalated in January 2013, when the Philippines initiated an arbitration proceeding against China under the dispute resolution terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Since then, land reclamation activities and protests in response, the legal battle between China and the Philippines, a series of U.S. freedom of navigation… Read More »The U.S.-China Battle in the Post-Arbitration South China Sea: Diverging and Converging Interests

Asia’s Seas Roar Anew: U.S. Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Asia Pacific

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Sea lanes are one of the Asia-Pacific’s six “geopolitical stakes” according to Walter McDougall’s magisterial Let the Sea Make a Noise: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur. His interpretative history argues that sea lanes tied together the contest for the region’s other five “great prizes”: the west coast of North America, Alaska, Hawaii, Manchuria, and eastern Siberia. With the possible exception of Chinese immigrants encroaching on eastern Siberia, sovereignty over these land features along the Asia-Pacific rim is unlikely to be contested again as it was on and off for roughly two centuries until 1945. However,… Read More »Asia’s Seas Roar Anew: U.S. Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Asia Pacific

Beyond the UUV Incident: Challenges in the South China Sea for the Trump Administration

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The December 2016 incident involving a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was neatly wrapped up on December 20 after China returned the vehicle. Despite diverging legal interpretations, the management of the event reflected the political willingness of both countries to keep the South China Sea dispute under control and in a careful balance so that the situation does not escalate into a military confrontation. However, whether this balancing act might continue in the Trump administration remains to be seen. The debate on the presence of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the South China Sea might add to this uncertainty.… Read More »Beyond the UUV Incident: Challenges in the South China Sea for the Trump Administration