The legal question that could stop China’s maritime power grab
A diplomatic standoff between China and the Philippines that flared up two years ago in a dispute over fishing rights
at a tiny shoal in the South China Sea is coming to a head after Manila
decided to ignore Chinese threats and sue Beijing in an international
“The Philippines and other regional states would gain a strong public
relations edge,” making it easier for beleaguered countries in the
region push back against Beijing, said Caitlyn Antrim, an expert on the
Law of the Sea at the Stimson Center. Given China’s interests in
ensuring free navigation in more distant waters such as the Indian and
Arctic oceans, the case may force it to rethink its strategy, she said.
“At some point China will have to choose either to fight for regional control, or global freedom of the seas.”
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