Arbitration 101: Philippines v. China

Introduction The arbitration case launched by the Philippines against China currently stands as the most significant, and most closely watched, development for specialists and observers of the maritime disputes in the South China Sea (SCS). To help observers navigate through this foggy proceeding, this article attempts to provide a focused overview of the arbitration case […]

The Diplomatic Implications of Philippines-China Arbitration

When it comes to the South China Sea, the year 2014 was a rollercoaster. With Manila’s arbitration efforts against Beijing gaining momentum, 2015 will present new challenges not only to Philippine-China bilateral relations, but also to the very credibility of international arbitration bodies under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of […]

Why Manila Shouldn’t Hope to Win It All in Arbitration

The next stage in the Philippines’ closely-watched arbitration case against China’s maritime claims will come in March when Manila’s lawyers submit their answers to questions posed last month by the five judge panel overseeing the case. The Philippines has put together a clever case, one that seeks to skirt China’s exemptions to compulsory arbitration as […]

Blunting China’s Realpolitik Approach: Liberalism through UNCLOS Arbitration

The 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off between the Philippines and China was the proverbial tipping point caused by China’s pattern of protracted, aggressive actions against the Philippines that began two years earlier. In mid-2010, the Philippine government had observed an increased Chinese naval presence and activities in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), recorded reports of […]

Legal Posturing and Power Relations in the South China Sea

One of the weakest military and economic powers in the region – the Philippines – took the strongest – China – to international court in 2013. The Philippines challenges China’s assertion of vast maritime claims over the South China Sea, pursuant to detailed rules and binding dispute resolution processes of the UN Convention of the […]

China’s Maritime Actors: Coordinated and Directed from the Top

China’s various maritime actors are increasingly being coordinated and directed by senior policymakers as part of a larger strategy aimed at protecting China’s sovereignty and maritime rights. The first signs of strengthened coordination and supervision were evident as early as mid-2012, when Chinese maritime vessels and Chinese fishing boats—with People Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships […]

Advancing the Rebalance in Southeast Asia

The year 2015 provides the Obama administration with new opportunities in Southeast Asia to reinforce and bolster the rebalance to Asia. Myanmar In Myanmar, the United States should expand its support and training efforts to build political parties, strengthen the parliament, and prepare for monitoring activities ahead of the country’s 2015 elections to ensure they […]

China: Building Confidence while Setting Expectations

Where China is concerned, successful implementation of the rebalance hinges upon a recognition in both capitals that neither country can hope to organize the future order in East Asia without the other. Chinese and U.S. leaderships say they subscribe to this axiom, but their respective behavior suggests that both sides seem reluctant to truly eschew […]