01 June 2015
The US Secretary of Defense has ordered the US military to develop options for more assertive freedom of navigation (FON) operations around China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea. There are significant legal, operational and political risks involved with these operations.
The legal situation regarding China’s claimed features in the South China Sea is messy. The claims overlap with other countries that have also undertaken extensive reclamation works on their occupied features, including building airstrips and adding military fortifications. But the US only appears concerned with what China has done. The US thus risks giving the impression that it has moved away from a position of neutrality in the sovereignty disputes.
… Sam Bateman is an adviser to the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015