Tag: United States

South China Sea Lawfare: Post-Arbitration Policy Options and Future Prospects

Report · 2017

Download the report: South China Sea Lawfare (2017)

On July 12, 2016, the Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration case issued its Award, officially bringing closure to the arbitral proceedings initiated by the Philippines against China in early 2013. In the Award, the Tribunal’s conclusions overwhelmingly supported the Philippines’ positions regarding almost all of the fifteen submissions in its Memorial. The Tribunal also rejected or opted not to take into account the vast majority of China’s positions as elaborated through official statements and was similarly not persuaded by arguments issued or evidence presented by Taiwan.

The Award, especially due to relevant countries’ policy responses and the enduring controversy over its content, has significant implications for the South China Sea maritime territorial disputes, which remain one of the most potent and complex issues affecting stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In the post-arbitration context, rival claimants and major stakeholders have been forced to recalibrate their rhetoric, strategies, and policies in order to safeguard their interests and rights in the maritime area while maintaining an image internationally that is conducive to achieving these aims.

This report, entitled South China Sea Lawfare: Post-Arbitration Policy Options and Future Prospects, builds upon the success of the first South China Sea Lawfare report that was published in early 2016. By bringing together an international team of experts writing on the different approaches of each claimant and stakeholder, it aims to serve as a more inclusive reference on post-arbitration South China Sea policy issues than the many other analyses published in the aftermath of the Award.

In Part I: Introduction, the report begins by giving a brief overview of the arbitral proceedings in historical perspective and summarizing the legal positions of the parties involved and the Tribunal’s conclusions as described in its two awards. In Part II: Rival Claimants and Part III: Major Stakeholders, the chapters focus on (1) the specific policy approaches of each country or actor; (2) the implications of the Award for each; (3) the legal, diplomatic, and security policy options available to them; and (4) their future prospects in the post-arbitration context of the South China Sea. In Part IV: Conclusion, the report explores the implications of the Award for international maritime law and the future of maritime territorial disputes. By encouraging and compiling a diversity of views on the South China Sea, the editors hope that this report will serve over the coming years as a resource for policymakers, a foundation for future research, and an example of constructive international collaboration in the midst of the disputes.

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What are the implications of the Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration case for the United States’ role in the Asia-Pacific region?

The Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration case may have several major implications for the United States’ role in the region.

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Will there be war between China and the US over the South China Sea?

The Uppsala Conflict Data Program, which provides the ‘gold standard’ definition of ‘war’ for research purposes, defines ‘war’ as armed conflict resulting in at least 1,000 battle-related deaths in a calendar year. The threshold for ‘armed conflict’ is 25 battle-related deaths in a calendar year.

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US Warships in the South China Sea: A Prelude to War?

Issue Briefings, 14 · 2016

As the US Navy increases its presence in the South China Sea in an attempt to maintain US primacy in Asia, it risks provoking a military clash with China. If regional stability is to be maintained, the US will need to rethink its strategy and seek a compromise.

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Interview with Raul (Pete) Pedrozo: U.S. South China Sea Policy, Freedom of Navigation Operations, and Accession to UNCLOS

Perspectives 9 · 2016

The South China Sea Think Tank interviews Raul (Pete) Pedrozo about the U.S. responses to the Philippines v. China arbitration case, recent U.S. Navy freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, and the possibility of U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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South China Sea Lawfare: Legal Perspectives and International Responses to the Philippines v. China Arbitration Case

Report · 2016

As tensions in the South China Sea have risen, the Philippines v. China arbitration case and the Philippines’ decision, after many years of unsuccessful bilateral negotiations, to engage in lawfare have become a focal point of the maritime territorial disputes, leading many state and non-state actors to become increasingly involved in and vocal about South China Sea issues. The controversial nature of the issue has resulted in a proliferation of heated diplomatic and military interactions and, in many instances, hindered meaningful cooperation between relevant stakeholders. This report, as the result of a collaborative effort between authors from ten countries, aims to serve as an example of constructive international cooperation on South China Sea issues in the midst of heightened regional tensions.

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Expert Views: Implications of the U.S. military’s return to the Philippines

Perspectives, 6 · 2016

Experts offer their reactions to the Philippine government’s decision to allow U.S. military forces to return to Philippine soil.

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Expert Views: Implications of U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea

Perspectives, 5 · 2015

Experts offer their reactions to the U.S. Navy’s high-profile freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

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Claimant and Non-Claimant Views on SLOCs and Freedom of Navigation

Issue Briefings 7 · 2015

Freedom of navigation concerns both South China Sea claimants and non-claimant stakeholders, yet the latter in particular have taken it up as their primary justification for involvement in the disputes.

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