Podcast: The Doklam Standoff and Lessons for Maritime Asia, with Zack Cooper and Sarah Watson

AMTI director Gregory Poling speaks with CSIS experts Sarah Watson and Zack Cooper about the months-long standoff between India and China over the Doklam plateau. The conversation covers the origins of the conflict, the resolution of the current crisis, and how the lessons learned can be applied by other states facing Chinese coercion.

A Dramatic Year Fails to Smooth the South China Sea

The Seventh Annual CSIS South China Sea Conference on July 18 brought together security, legal, and environmental experts to review events of the past year. The participants had a lot of ground to cover: the impact of the arbitral tribunal’s award in Manila’s case against Beijing, the near-completion of China’s artificial island bases in the Spratly Islands, and the […]

Podcast: Decoding Duterte’s First 100 Days

As President Rodrigo Duterte completes his first 100 days as leader of the Philippines, the former mayor has caused ripples by questioning the foundation of the alliance between the U.S. and its former colony. He's known as a "colorful" character, so should we take his comments, and those of his cabinet, at face value? AMTI Director Gregory Poling weighs in, in conversation with Colm Quinn.

A Tumultuous 2016 in the South China Sea

This promises to be a landmark year for the claimant countries and other interested parties in the South China Sea disputes. Developments that have been underway for several years, especially China’s island-building campaign in the Spratlys and Manila’s arbitration case against Beijing, will come to fruition. These and other developments will draw outside players, including […]

South China Sea FONOP 2.0: A Step in the Right Direction

The Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur passed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, the southernmost of the Paracel Islands, on January 30 in the second operation in the South China Sea in recent months under the Department of Defense’s Freedom of Navigation Program. And despite significant disappointment in some quarters, the operation was a […]

An Interview with Gregory Poling on FONOPS, Arbitration, and South China Sea Strategy

AMTI director Gregory Poling sits down with Colm Quinn to discuss the the U.S. Navy’s recent freedom of navigation operation, U.S. policy in the South China Sea, the ongoing Philippine-China arbitration case, and what a long-term solution to the dispute might look like. This interview was originally recorded for the October 31 CSIS Podcast.

The U.S. Asserts Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

After months of internal debate within the Obama administration, the guided missile destroyer USS Lassentransited within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef, one of China’s artificially-built features in the South China Sea, on October 27 in what is termed a “freedom of navigation” (FON) operation. It was accompanied by two maritime surveillance aircraft, a P-8A […]

Sophistry and Bad Messaging in the South China Sea

Chinese authorities, as well as sympathetic writers, have in recent months sought to deflect criticism of China’s island-building campaign in the Spratlys by insisting that Beijing is merely copying what other claimants have done for years. According to this narrative, every claimant is as guilty as Beijing of altering the status of features in the […]

Carter on the South China Sea: Committed and (Mostly) Clear

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue on May 30 amounted to a robust, but measured, defense of the United States’ rebalance to the Asia Pacific and its commitment to remain a Pacific power. The speech covered a broad spectrum of U.S. commitments to the region—economic, political, and security—before concluding with an enthusiastic […]

Furthering U.S. Strategic Goals in the South China Sea

China’s reclamation blitz in the Spratly Islands continues unabated, despite condemnation from fellow claimants and outside nations. Chinese dredging ships have been hard at work expanding at least seven features: Cuarteron, Gaven, Hughes, Fiery Cross, Johnson South, Mischief, and Subi reefs. Their work will be largely complete in a matter of months, presenting the region […]

The Legal Challenge of China’s Island Building

Those closely following the situation in the South China Sea have been wringing their hands about the military potential of China’s unprecedented island building work over the last year. This anxiety is understandable, and the expanded patrol and surveillance capacity that Beijing is constructing with facilities, docks, and probably at least one airstrip in the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Beijing’s and Washington’s Dueling Papers

Beijing has reached its December 15 deadline to submit its defense in the arbitration case against its South China Sea claims brought by the Philippines. That case, brought under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) compulsory dispute mechanism, is summarized here. The Chinese government has no intention of taking part in […]