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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 27 Dec 2017
The latest edition of the US Navy Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations is out. It is the first such revision in a decade — but it continues to convey to US Navy commanders controversial and unilateral interpretations of the international law of the sea.
The Trump administration has re-raised the decade-old geopolitical concept of the “Indo-Pacific” region and is proposing and pushing a so-called “Quad,” a potential security arrangement among the four large democracies of India, Australia, Japan, and the US.
PacNet, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently carried a debate between Stanford scholar Donald Emmerson and Harvard-affiliated scholar Andrew Taffer focusing on the US practice of “fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.”
In the wake of China’s spectacular advances on many fronts, economic, technological, military, diplomatic and others, haters are grasping at straws of hope for its failure. The rising chorus of whistling by the graveyard comes on the heels of Trump’s first visit to Asia.
In the joint statement of the US President and the Vietnamese President, the longest paragraph was the one that addressed the South China Sea issues. The joint statement with the Philippine President essentially repeated phrases from the US-Vietnam’s joint statement.
As ASEAN and its dialogue partners gather in the Philippines for their annual political and security gab-fest, the East Asian Summit, there is a grudging but growing recognition that US policy regarding the South China Sea imbroglio has failed.
Water quality will affect communications with China’s nuclear powered and armed ballistic missile submarines. These submarines are its principal deterrent to a first nuclear strike against it.
According to Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon, “the Chinese government recently unveiled a new legal tactic to promote Beijing’s aggressive claim to own most of the strategic South China Sea.” Gertz calls this “new” claim the “Four Sha.”