There is no universal agreement on the interpretation of key provisions in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Indeed, important differences are emerging between Southeast Asian nations and the US regarding the theory and enforcement of freedom of navigation.
On April 12, 2019, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un finally uttered publicly he was open to a third summit with US President Donald J Trump. Trump himself does not appear to rule out the possibility of a third summit.
In the early 2000s, when I accepted an invitation to speak at one of the very first of what has since become a very prestigious annual event, The Boao Forum for Asia — I had no idea I might wind up playing a minor role in what became the great giant clam controversy.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. visited China between March 18-21, 2019. Shortly after the visit, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stated that the country has never shelved the South China Sea arbitration award.
The Philippines is undertaking a government-sponsored marine scientific expedition to the Spratlys area. While billed as an advance in scientific knowledge, it may be perceived to be a soft assertion of sovereignty.
According to the Philippines, the presence of about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu between January and March 2019 violated its “sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction”. It filed a diplomatic protest to this effect.
Two former Philippines officials filed a complaint with the ICC against China for “crimes against humanity”, alleging that President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Ambassador perpetrated environmental damage in the South China Sea.
There is certainly no shortage of warmongering blaring from both China and the US regarding the South China Sea. Indeed, a recent public tit-for-tat illustrates both the danger of such public advocacy and of taking it seriously.