In late 2011, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara launched negotiations with the private Japanese owner of three of the disputed Senkaku Islands (administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan). A government ministry had been leasing three islets—Uotsuri, Kita, and Minami—from owner Kunioki Kurihara for years to prevent hardliners from developing them or otherwise inflaming the dispute. Yet, hobbled by large business debts, Kurihara had recently decided to sell.
China’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, a flashpoint since 2012, led to a palpable hardening of views in Washington on Chinese intentions. At the same time, despite some risky incidents, the Chinese military still conducts most of its air intercepts professionally and safely.
Although often overshadowed by the 2012 nationalization crisis, the 2010 Senkaku trawler collision laid the foundation for heightened brinkmanship in the East China Sea.
On its face, having coast guards patrol large bodies of disputed territory might be cause for optimism. But the way coast guards are employed in the South China Sea as blunt instruments to assert state power gives more cause for concern than optimism.
When the tribunal deciding the South China Sea arbitration case brought by the Philippines against China issued its award on July 12, the international media seemed impressed by the landslide decision in favor of the Philippines on almost all of its claims. Many reported that the ruling was a rebuke of China’s sovereignty claims, but […]
Taiwan challenges Japan’s claim to an exclusive economic zone in order to protect security and fishing interests
Japan’s model of self-restraint in the Senkaku Islands is a model of regional stability for China in the South China Sea
Introduction This paper assesses the influence of the PLA Navy (PLAN) and its affiliated individuals and organizations (referred to as the “PLAN Lobby” or “Navy Lobby”) on specific policies related to China’s “maritime sovereignty”. A lobby is a group of individuals who use direct or indirect means to collectively or individually advocate policy positions to […]
To what extent does the law of the sea influence PRC decisions about maritime policy? If there is any influence, does it on balance play a constraining or enabling role in Beijing’s decisionmaking in this domain? This brief, mostly conceptual article argues that the enabling effects are more significant. For Beijing, UNCLOS III functions to […]
Foreign policy decisionmaking in China has always been opaque, but under Chinese Communist Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, it has become even more cryptic. The strongest leader to come to power in more than two decades, Xi has concentrated power in his own hands and rarely vets foreign policy initiatives with the […]