The Naming of Seas is a Practical Matter

The Naming of Seas is a Practical MatterTwo centuries or more of western domination of much of the world has not only redrawn the global political maps but in many cases determined place names. If that seems arcane, it is not. It was western powers that named the South China Sea, for instance. It is a name that China is now using…

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful Rise

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful RiseThere was a time when China tried hard to convince the world its rise is peaceful. That pretense was abandoned seven years ago when in the wake of Great Recession China thought its time had come to claim its place as controlling "all under heaven," or tianxia in Asia. Like all great powers in history, China's emergence…

Arms Race Threatened on India-China border

Arms Race Threatened on India-China borderNew Delhi's decision to deploy the BrahMos supersonic missile – the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, which can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound – in the disputed northeast state of Arunachal, has left its rival and neighbor fuming as big-power tensions flare between China and India.  Within days of the announcement by…

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over Islets

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over IsletsTokyo has delivered a humiliating public protest to China’s ambassador for the intrusion of a vast “fishing fleet” escorted by a dozen coast guard and other law-enforcement vessels in or near waters of the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Daioyus to the Chinese. Such protests are common in the ongoing cat and mouse game…

More Fake Soft Power for China

More Fake Soft Power for China“Asia-Pacific Institute of International Law.” Here surely is a weighty institution whose members include leading lawyers from around the Asia-Pacific region, from China to Canada, Melbourne to Manila ready to offer a forum for discussion of issues such as the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and its application in the region. Well,…

Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong Publishers

Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong PublishersDespite the 1997 promise that China would leave Hong Kong alone for 50 years, Beijing in recent months has extended a harsh crackdown on freedom of speech in the supposedly autonomous region, now handing down convictions and prison sentences to the editor and publisher respectively of two Hong Kong magazines as well as an editorial…

China May Try Cash to Buy Off Philippines

China May Try Cash to Buy Off PhilippinesThe Philippines may have handsomely won its case over the South China Sea at the Court of Arbitration, but the battle between the power of Chinese money and the Philippines' national interests has a long way to run. Politicians everywhere are susceptible to the prospect of short-term gains for themselves or their voters, and no…

Hague Court Decision a Gift to South China Sea Nations

Hague Court Decision a Gift to South China Sea NationsThe other littoral states of the South China Sea owe a debt of gratitude to the Philippines for bringing its case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. More than just an indictment of China’s actions and rebuttal of its outlandish claims, the rulings are so sweeping that other countries can…

China’s Case for Claiming South China Sea Demolished

China’s Case for Claiming South China Sea DemolishedAt last, on July 12, the Law of the Sea Tribunal has ruled on the Philippine challenge to Chinese pretensions to maritime rights over an approximately two million km² ocean expanse stretching south from Hainan Island to Singapore.  It is an amazing ruling, far broader in scope than China's South Sea neighbors and their friends…

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China Sea

Philippines’ New President Shakes up the South China SeaIn his first cabinet meeting after taking his oath as president on June 30, Rodrigo Duterte slid into his most comfortable mode: rambling on about ways to cut red tape for the poor and setting up a 24-hour hotline for complaints that would directly come to his attention. But Duterte was upstaged by his foreign…