My Take on the Tribunal’s Award

I wrote the following for ChinaFile: My initial reaction is that the tribunal’s award overwhelmingly favors the Philippines—a huge win for Manila. China’s only lawful claims in the South China Sea would be 12nm territorial seas from land features in the Spratly Islands deemed to be rocks above high tide. China cannot claim an Exclusive [...]

China’s Historic Rights Claims

For the Maritime Awareness Project, I examine how three recent fishing disputes between China and Indonesia prompted China to clarify its claims to historic rights. The result is a dispute over maritime jurisdiction of more than 94,000 square kilometers, where Indonesia's EEZ overlaps with China's nine-dashed line. Read the full piece here [or view it [...]

How China Will Respond to the Tribunal

I have written a short piece for the South China Morning Post, which outlines how China may react to the arbitral tribunal’s award next week. I make three points: 1. The role of the tribunal in the South China Sea disputes is limited. The tribunal cannot rule on questions of disputed sovereignty of the islands and [...]

Maritime Awareness Project

A new website that I've helped to develop, the Maritime Awareness Project, launched yesterday. The main feature is an interactive map that allows users to depict different dimensions of the dispute.  The goal is to illuminate the complexity and consequences of maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. The site also [...]

China’s Nuclear Strategy

In a new article in International Security, Fiona Cunningham and I examine whether China will abandon its long-standing nuclear strategy of assured retaliation for a first-use posture. We reach three conclusions: Chinese analysts worry that advances in U.S. strategic capabilities could undermine China's ability to retaliate against a U.S. nuclear attack. China is unlikely to increase [...]

Strategic Deterrence and China’s Military Parade

As the thoughtful discussion on ChinaFile notes, the upcoming military review is designed to serve several different purposes. The actual military purpose of the parade, however, should not be overlooked. Put simply, military reviews are one way in which China engages in what authoritative PLA sources describe as “strategic deterrence.” The concept of strategic deterrence [...]

China’s New Military Strategy

In a new article in the China Brief, I show that terminology in the 2015 defense white paper indicates that China has officially changed its national military strategy.  The goal of the new strategy is “winning informationized local wars,” with an emphasis on the maritime domain. This marks only the ninth military strategy that China [...]

Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region

Last week, the Carnegie Endowment issued a strategic net assessment of the Asia-Pacific region that I and many others contributed to writing. The report takes a long view, looking out over the next 5-25 years, and outlines five possible futures that range for more cooperative to more conflictual outcomes as well as recommendations for avoiding [...]