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This section is a platform for analysis and commentary by international experts from diverse disciplines that places maritime developments in a regional and global context. The positions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of NBR or Sasakawa USA.

The Role of History and Law in the South China Sea and Arctic Ocean

The law of the sea regime is in the early phases of a significant shift and subject to increased tension in its central normative structure. This has been the case...

 
Diverging Paths? Singapore-China Relations and the East Asian Maritime Domain

Singapore and China are experiencing an unprecedented period of friction in their usually calm bilateral relations. Much of the divergence is over issues relating to the South China Sea, despite...

 
A Code of Conduct for the South China Sea: Effective Tool or Temporary Solution?

Until 2013, the conflict in the South China Sea had been managed mainly through implementation of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea...

 
Beyond the UUV Incident: Challenges in the South China Sea for the Trump Administration

The December 2016 incident involving a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was neatly wrapped up on December 20 after China returned the vehicle. Despite diverging legal interpretations, the management of...

 
Joint Development or Permanent Maritime Boundary: The Case of East Timor and Australia

On January 9, 2017, Australia and Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) entered a new chapter in their maritime disagreement with the release of a trilateral joint statement (PCA 2016-10)...

 
The Implications of China’s Seizure of a U.S. Navy Drone

On December 15, the latest incident between the United States and China in the South China Sea occurred. This episode involved China’s seizure of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) operated...

 
Japan’s Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force: Cooperation among Siblings

This MAP Analysis is a preview of the author’s forthcoming article in the January issue of Asia Policy.   Coping with “gray zone” situations has in recent years become the...

 
Follow the Fish: Considering Options in the South China Sea

Nearly four months after the landmark UNCLOS arbitration ruling in the case brought by the Philippines against China, President Rodrigo Duterte’s about-face in his approach to the Philippines’ bilateral disputes...

 
The Award Decision in the Philippines-China Arbitration Case: A Perspective from Malaysia

In the last decade, many countries in Southeast Asia have formulated new policies in response to the changing strategic environment shaped by the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific, including...

 
Vietnam Benefits from the South China Sea Arbitration

Although Vietnam did not intercede in the July 12 Philippines-China arbitration, nonetheless it now finds itself on the right side of the facts and the law in its disputes with...

 
Asia Policy Roundtable: India and China at Sea

The latest issue of Asia Policy, a peer-reviewed and policy-relevant academic journal published by The National Bureau of Asian Research, features a roundtable on “India and China at Sea: A Contest of...

 
How to Make China Comply with the Tribunal Award

The arbitral tribunal award of July 12 has delivered major benefits to the Philippines. Of fifteen claims submitted to the tribunal, fourteen were affirmed in full while only one was...

 
ASEAN and the Risks of Business as Usual

Growing tensions over competing South China Sea claims, coupled with China’s increasing economic influence, are aggravating long-standing cleavages within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Intra-ASEAN differences are evident...

 
Voices: The Philippines-China Arbitration Decision

Over the coming days, MAP will host a number of short expert commentaries assessing the merits award on fifteen claims the Philippines brought against China before an arbitration tribunal, as well as...

 
Traditional Fishing Grounds and China’s Historic Rights Claims in the South China Sea

In the past four months, three confrontations have occurred between China and Indonesia over the presence of Chinese fishing vessels in waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. By compelling Jakarta to...

 
Asia’s Seas Roar Anew: U.S. Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Asia Pacific

Sea lanes are one of the Asia-Pacific’s six “geopolitical stakes” according to Walter McDougall’s magisterial Let the Sea Make a Noise: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to...

 
The Role of Energy in Disputes over the South China Sea

The intensifying disputes over control of the South China Sea are ultimately rooted in disagreements over national sovereignty, territorial control, and the rising power of China as it intersects with...

 
The U.S.-China Battle in the Post-Arbitration South China Sea: Diverging and Converging Interests

One incident after another has played out across the stage of the South China Sea since 2009, the year Malaysia and Vietnam filed a joint submission on the limits of...

 
Whither the Honest Broker? Indonesia and the South China Sea

The incursion on March 19–20, 2016, by two armed China Coast Guard ships into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 4.34 kilometers off the Natuna Islands, sparked tensions on a new...

 
Forecasting the South China Sea Arbitration Merits Award

  Prediction is difficult—especially about the future. Niels Bohr’s words ring true when it comes to the case brought by the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China over their...

 
MAP Launch Event

The National Bureau of Asian Research and Sasakawa USA launched the MAP web portal at a public event on April 14 in Washington, D.C., with an initial focus on the...

 
The Role and Use of International Law in the South China Sea Disputes

  While the role of international law, including the law of the sea, is integral to understanding how the events in the South China Sea unfold, there are two dominant strands...

 
ASEAN Initiatives Face Strong Headwinds

  At a joint press conference with U.S. secretary of state John Kerry in Washington, D.C., in February, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi assured his audience that, compared with other...

 
Non-claimant Perspectives on the South China Sea Disputes

The latest issue of Asia Policy, a peer-reviewed and policy-relevant academic journal published by The National Bureau of Asian Research, features a roundtable on non-claimant states’ perspectives and interests in the South...

 
Missed Opportunities in the Pentagon’s New Maritime Strategy

The Department of Defense recently released its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy. Because of rapid security changes in the maritime realm, the document is a welcome declaration, providing much greater clarity...

 
China-Japan Tensions Set to Flare over East China Sea

China has been raising blood pressures for some time over its actions in the South China Sea.  From its aggressive advocacy of territorial and jurisdictional claims to its expansive land...

 
Assertive Engagement: Defining a U.S.-Japan Security Strategy on China

This morning I would like to talk about the security strategies of the United States, Japan and China.   US security strategy for the economic and political development of East...

 
China’s Search for Oil and Gas Security: Prospects and Implications

  China’s Oil and Gas Realities   The respective impacts of evolving oil and gas market realities on thinking in Beijing could be considered two sides of the same coin....

 
Could Tensions in the South China Sea Spark a War?

In the South China Sea, where China’s ambitious “nine-dash line” claim of sovereignty has been disputed by several other claimants, relations have in recent weeks turned remarkably chillier. Vietnam and...