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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 11 Sep 2017
On the heels of North Korea’s 3 September test, the US is seeking UN Security Council authorization to use military force to interdict, board, and inspect vessels on the high seas that are suspected of carrying UN-prohibited items to and from North Korea.
A Chinese incursion in Australia’s EEZ has sparked a debate. Many say China is hypocritical because it is undertaking ISR missions in other countries’ EEZs while opposing those of the US in its own EEZ. But there are differences between what China and the US are doing.
From August 2-8, 2017, ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners, including rivals China and the United States, will have a series of key security meetings in the Philippines. Casting a shadow upon these meetings will be recent developments regarding the South China Sea.
Joseph Bosco’s critique of China’s actions in the South China Sea, the Obama administration’s response and other issues raises the fundamental questions of the purpose and necessity of Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.
US FONOPs in the South China Sea are controversial. Their targeting of China’s “excessive” claims there, their resumption under President Donald Trump, and China’s increasingly strident objections raise questions regarding their intent, effectiveness and necessity.
The first FONOP under the Trump administration occurred in late May 2017, when the USS Dewey made a non-innocent passage within 12 nm of Mischief Reef. It raised questions as to the purpose and effectiveness of US FONOPs in the South China Sea.
The outlines of the Trump administration’s policy toward China and the South China Sea are emerging from a fog of confusing and contradictory statements and actions. It is beginning to look more or less like a continuation of that of the Obama administration, with some new twists.
Lost amid the recent cacophony of nationalist rhetoric regarding the disputes in the South China Sea have been calls for the claimants to agree to set aside part of the area for environmental preservation. This suggestion is both idealistic and unrealistic.