The Case for Japan’s Patrol in the South China Sea

Over the past few months, speculation about possible Japanese patrols in the South China Sea has attracted media attention. The United States’ 7th Fleet Commander welcomed such patrol by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), while Japan’s defense minister and top uniform officer responded cautiously but positively. Japan renounced all of its claims in the […]

Philippines’ Lopsided South China Sea Policy

More than any country in the region, the Philippines has sought to protect its territorial integrity through “lawfare” (legal warfare), taking China to the court over maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Perturbed by China’s growing assertiveness across disputed waters, evident in its expanded para-military patrols, massive reclamation activities, and regular military drills in […]

Patrolling International Skies: Understanding Joint Air Patrols

In examining recent suggestions for joint patrolling of the South China Sea, analysts have tended to focus on the surface vessels of various nations’ coast guards and navies. Yet the flight of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon hosting a CNN film crew over disputed waters in the South China Sea in May highlighted the potential […]

South China Sea Civilian Air Patrol Capability and the U.S.-Japan Alliance

Increased tensions over China’s maritime sovereignty claims in the Western Pacific pose a challenge for the international system. A confrontation between China and Japan in the East China Sea continues mainly between Japan’s national coast guard ships and China’s government and civilian fishery vessels, but it seems to have reached a kind of moderate stalemate […]

China’s Airfield Construction at Fiery Cross Reef in Context: Catch-Up or Coercion?

Although China is not the first state to build an airstrip in the South China Sea, it is the first state to employ island-building technologies to transform a contested maritime feature into a military base that extends the reach of offensive military capabilities. Other countries have worked to project power to contested South China Sea […]

Why the Philippines’ Case Should Pass the Jurisdiction and Admissibility Tests

The Philippines has been widely applauded for bringing the first ever arbitration case relating to the South China Sea disputes before an UNCLOS Arbitration Tribunal, but it still needs to clear the three hurdles of jurisdiction, admissibility and merit. In other words, Manila needs to prove that its case falls within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, that […]

The Philippines between Scylla and Charybdis at The Hague

The Annex VII arbitral tribunal heard oral arguments from the Philippines last week on the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility of claims in the case it launched against China. Despite high hopes placed on Manila’s cause, these issues remain the most formidable legal obstacles to be surmounted. While the Philippine Memorial has not been made […]

The Battle of The Hague: Philippines v. China in the South China Sea

The Philippines’ lawfare (legal warfare) against China has reached a critical juncture. More than two years after initiating compulsory arbitration against China, the Southeast Asian country faces the crucial task of proving that the Arbitral Tribunal, formed under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has the mandate […]