Stirred but Not Shaken: Sri Lanka’s Rebalancing Act

Shortly after President Maithripala Sirisena’s surprise victory in Sri Lanka’s January Presidential election, the new leader suspended one of the largest Chinese-led infrastructure investments in the country—the $1.5 billion Colombo Port City—and caught the Chinese government off guard. Seemingly in denial, Chinese officials and the media echo chamber downplayed this move as a minor speed […]

Dragon Tracks: Emerging Chinese Access Points in the Indian Ocean Region

With six-plus-years of Chinese Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations and China’s first submarine deployments to the Indian Ocean, considering possible support facilities for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) isn’t just for those theorizing a “String of Pearls” anymore. The U.S. Department of Defense itself forecasts that within the […]

Diplomacy Changes, Construction Continues: New Images of Mischief and Subi Reefs

On June 16, 2015, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced that “as planned, the land reclamation project of China’s construction on some stationed islands and reefs of the Nansha (Spratly) Islands will be completed in the upcoming days.” He went on to note that after land reclamation on existing features was complete, China would continue to […]

China’s Land Reclamation Announcement: A Change in Message, Not in Policy

Q1: What has China announced about its land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands? A1: On June 16, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced that “as planned, the land reclamation project of China’s construction on some stationed islands and reefs of the Nansha (Spratly) Islands will be completed in the upcoming days.” He noted […]

China’s Claims are Unambiguously Ambiguous

In the first paragraph of his recent AMTI article, Zheng Zhihua essentially conflates two issues–questions of sovereignty over islands and questions of jurisdiction over resources and the boundaries delimiting them–when he says: A few international observers also accuse China of deliberately obscuring its territorial claims in the South China Sea by using terms not found […]

Massive Island-Building and International Law

Within the short span of a year, China’s rapid construction of artificial islands in the disputed Spratlys has radically changed the geographical and security landscapes in the South China Sea. This island construction has so far created over eight million square metres of real estate in the open sea, outstripping other countries’ reclamation activities by […]