Counter-Coercion Series: Senkaku Islands Nationalization Crisis

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.

Misinterpretation and Consequences of Arbitration: A Chinese Perspective

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 […]

China’s Navy Lobby and its Impact on PRC Maritime Sovereignty Policies

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”.[1]  A lobby is a group of individuals who use direct or indirect means to collectively or individually advocate policy positions to […]

The Enabling Role of UNCLOS III in PRC Maritime Policy

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 […]

China’s Maritime Rights Protection Leading Small Group—Shrouded in Secrecy

  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 […]