Law of the Sea

  • China's President Xi Jinping and Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shake hands at the Central Communist Party Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 5, 2015

    Commentary

    China Tolerating Vietnam's South China Sea Activities, for Now

    China has probably tolerated Vietnam's South China Sea construction activities because it feels confident in its military position in the region. Chinese leaders might change their stance if they believe Vietnam is trying to enlist the support of the U.S. or other partners to settle bilateral disputes.

    Mar 3, 2017

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Tipping Points in the Arctic

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discuss several potential economic, environmental, and political "game changers" that could affect strategic decisions in the Arctic region.

    Mar 2, 2017

  • The sun sets on Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise 2016 at the Arctic Circle, March 8, 2016

    Report

    How to Maintain Arctic Cooperation with Russia

    Despite tensions between Russia and the West, Arctic cooperation has remained intact. But America should prepare for changes that may alter Moscow's incentives. These include rising interest in Arctic resources and greater maritime access due to climate change.

    Mar 2, 2017

  • Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, August 18, 2013

    Commentary

    The New 'Normal' in the East China Sea

    China and Japan are engaged in a long-term test of wills over disputed waters and territory in the East China Sea. The Japanese government has acknowledged the challenge it faces and has begun to invest in infrastructure and personnel projects to address it.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Taiwanese Coast Guard patrol ship, Kaohsiung (CG 129), during a rescue drill near the coast of Itu Aba in the South China Sea, November 29, 2016

    Commentary

    History and Current Developments Regarding Taiwan's Coast Guard

    As Asia-Pacific countries develop policies to regulate maritime zones of jurisdiction, the importance of coast guards as instruments of state policy has been growing. Taiwan's Coast Guard is an increasingly effective force facilitating the protection and regulation of Taiwanese maritime rights and interests in the East and South China Sea.

    Feb 15, 2017

  • Report

    Report

    Maritime Issues in the East and South China Seas: Summary of a Conference Held January 12–13, 2016

    This conference summary presents key insights from a January 2016 conference focusing on maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • A Korea Coast Guard ship

    Commentary

    South Korea Cracks Down on Illegal Chinese Fishing, with Violent Results

    In the Yellow Sea and elsewhere, Chinese fishermen have shown an increasing willingness to challenge attempts by coast guards to enforce fishing laws. Earlier this week, after repeated warnings, the Korea Coast Guard opened fire on a Chinese vessel fishing illegally in Korean waters.

    Nov 4, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (right) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • A Chinese Coast Guard vessel is pictured on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea, March 29, 2014

    Commentary

    The Crucial South China Sea Ruling No One Is Talking About

    The PCA found in July that China's coast guard had breached several UNCLOS articles governing safety and navigation at sea. Hopefully, this will help build a legal case that abiding by basic maritime safety principles is in the interest of all countries, including China.

    Sep 16, 2016

  • A People's Liberation Army Air Force's long-range strategic bomber H-6K

    Commentary

    China Signals Resolve with Bomber Flights Over the South China Sea

    Since the PCA tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines' case on July 12, invalidating many of China's claims in the South China Sea, Beijing has sought to demonstrate its military strength in the region. The PLAAF's H-6K has played a key role.

    Aug 2, 2016

  • An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on Mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015.

    Commentary

    Judgment on the South China Sea: What's Next?

    On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines' claims to maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. How China reacts could have far-reaching consequences for all nations that depend on a peaceful and integrated Southeast Asia.

    Jul 22, 2016

  • The Indonesian frigate KRI Karel Satsuit Tubin in an exercise with the USCG Cutter Sherman, July 15, 2006

    Commentary

    Indonesia-China Tensions in the Natuna Sea: Evidence of Naval Efficacy Over Coast Guards?

    The notion that Southeast Asian countries should employ coast guards instead of navies to enforce maritime laws had been gaining currency. But many of the coast guard fleets lack sufficient capacity to deal with the threats along their coast and in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

    Jul 5, 2016

  • The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Yamayuki (DD-129) and JS Yamagiri (DD-152) conduct formation drills during a passing exercise

    Commentary

    The Fallout from the Philippines Arbitration Case Against China

    What compels compliance with rulings based on international law? Whether or not China will pay a political price for ignoring a U.N. Law of the Sea Convention ruling will to a large degree be determined by how forceful other states respond in the aftermath of court action.

    Jun 30, 2016

  • The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis approaches the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier during a replenishment at sea in the South China Sea, March 4, 2016

    Commentary

    South China Sea Spat a Symptom of U.S.-China Jockeying for Advantage

    A spate of high-profile diplomatic feuds and military actions related to the South China Sea has raised concern about the direction of U.S.-China relations. Neither country is well positioned politically or economically to engage in a long-term, antagonistic relationship, let alone a major conflict.

    Jun 27, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during a summit held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, February 16, 2016

    Commentary

    The Importance of Sunnylands for U.S.-ASEAN Relations

    The first ever Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held on U.S. soil took place earlier this month. Its success should be measured by the fact that the U.S. prioritized relations with the region enough to host its first summit. It should be regarded as the beginning of a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations.

    Feb 24, 2016

  • U.S. President Obama departs after his remarks and a tour of the Philippine Navy's BRP Gregorio Del Pilar at Manila Harbor, Philippines, November 17, 2015

    Commentary

    Obama Doubles Down on Maritime Capacity Building in Southeast Asia

    By contributing to coast guard capacity building by donating ships and funding, the United States has found an important and politically viable avenue to bolster maritme security to partners and allies in Southeast Asia.

    Dec 15, 2015

  • USS Lassen conducts exercises with Korean and Turkish navy ships

    Commentary

    How Will China Respond to Future U.S. Freedom of Navigation Ops?

    On October 27, the USS Lassen carried out the first freedom of navigation patrol to challenge China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. In assessing China's potential response to follow-on operations, the extremes of either complete inaction or a military attack can be ruled out.

    Oct 29, 2015

  • Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea May 21, 2015

    Commentary

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

    Even if China really sees itself as undertaking legitimate activities to protect its rightful interests, it is not surprising that its rival claimants, as well as the United States and other countries in the region, see Beijing's island building activities as efforts to improve China's abilities to bully its neighbors.

    Aug 11, 2015

  • A Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the South China Sea maneuvers to block a Philippine supply ship with members of the media aboard, March 29, 2014

    Commentary

    China's Island-Building Stirs Fears, but Creates Openings for the United States

    News of proposed Navy patrols nearby disputed islands claimed by China suggests that the United States is toughening its response to Beijing's assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

    May 18, 2015

  • Russian-flagged tanker Renda navigates through ice on its way to the Alaskan port of Nome

    Commentary

    Crimea, Climate Change, and U.S.-Russian Relations: A Perfect Storm

    Russia possesses the world's most Arctic shoreline, water, and operating resources. But the United States is also an Arctic nation, even if much of the American public tends to under-appreciate this special status.

    May 6, 2014