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'Give them a bloody nose': Xi pressed for stronger South China Sea response

China's leadership is resisting pressure from elements within the military for a more forceful response to an international court ruling against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, sources said, wary of provoking a clash with the United States.

China refused to participate in the case overseen by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. [READ MORE]

China Will Hold its Fire in the South China Sea — Until September

Over at the Washington Post, acclaimed columnist David Ignatius takes on the always tumultuous tides roiling the South China Sea.

Ignatius points out the scope of Beijing’s defeat in the recent international court case brought by Manila, noting that while most that follow professionally this important part of the world were of the collective mind China would lose in some fashion, but no one (myself included) thought Beijing would lose so badly. Score one for the “rules-based international order.” [READ MORE]

Shamefare: How Vietnam Could Push Back Against China in the South China Sea

For those who were hoping that China and the Philippines might be able to move towards negotiations after Manila’s victory in the Hague over Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea — well, it seems China is back to its usual bag of tricks.

After the Philippines reacted with what I would consider praiseworthy restraint–and in complete contrast to China’s countless venomous statements — Filipino leaders seemed to offer Beijing what they have been craving most: bilateral negotiations with an eye towards a settlement. [READ MORE]

Storm clouds gathering in the South China Sea

Clearing the haze of speculation, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) handed down its ruling on the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines on 12 July.

The Philippines filed the case under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013. The Tribunal found that China’s claimed ‘nine-dash line’ has no legal basis under UNCLOS and China could claim no ‘historic rights’ to resources in the South China Sea. [READ MORE]

Is a rebuked China taking a timeout?

China suffered a significant setback this month in its bid for dominance in the South China Sea, and its leaders are following a familiar script after such reversals: They’re making angry statements but taking little action while they assess the situation.

The United States is playing a characteristic role in such a flare-up, too. Rather than crowing about victory, it’s trying to talk Chinese leaders off the ledge before they do something rash. [READ MORE]

The Philippines' Biggest South China Sea Problem: It Has Almost No Navy

The biggest share of the Philippines’ naval combat power now rests in three hand-me-down U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters with decades of service in hard conditions. Yes, this is actually an improvement.

On July 21, the Philippines officially took possession and commissioned its third ex-Hamilton class. Now designated as a frigate, the ship is the former USCGC Boutwell, renamed the BRP Andres Bonifacio after the Filipino revolutionary leader. [READ MORE]

Vietnam Benefits from the South China Sea Arbitration

SCSC - On 30 August 2016, the Maritimeawarenessproject covered an analysis piece titled “Vietnam benefits from the South China Sea arbitration” written by Prof. Kames Kraska of the U.S. Naval War College. We would like to introduce his paper as follows:

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 China over maritime rights in the South China Sea.

India’s Response to the South China Sea Verdict

This was the first time that the entire basis of China’s “historical claims” (for example, the “nine-dash line”) was ruled to be invalid under international law by an international tribunal.

The ruling not only has important implications for countries with unresolved territorial disputes with China but also impinges on India’s relations with Japan, the United States, ASEAN countries, and the international order. [READ MORE]

China’s Failure in the South China Sea

By reiterating its policy of “no acceptance, no participation, no recognition, and no implementation,” China has painted itself into a difficult corner and diminished the chances of resolving the myriad maritime disputes—involving Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and now even Indonesia as well as the Philippines—in a peaceful manner.

What is more, by continuing to press its claims with such belligerence, Beijing also throws up a huge obstruction in the way of better U.S.-China relations. [READ MORE]

ASSESSING THE MILITARY SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA LAND FEATURES

This article aims to provide a fair assessment of the military significance of the South China Sea land features. The term land feature is intentionally selected to avoid the trouble of arguing whether they are islands, reefs, shoals or rocks.

How these land features can be categorized into the terms shown above may possibly cause differences according to the international regimes governing maritime jurisdictions, but not the military significance of the land features alone. [READ MORE]

U.S. South China Sea policy after the ruling: Opportunities and challenges

Since the 1990s, the United States has been consistent in its general South China Sea approach that while it does not take a position on competing claims, it does have a view in how those claims are pressed and ultimately resolved.

This position is in line with the preservation of key U.S. interests in the South China Sea, which include: safeguarding international norms like the freedom of navigation and overflight; fostering regional peace and stability; and preserving the credibility of the United States in the eyes of its allies, partners, friends, and adversaries. [READ MORE]

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