Conflicts over specific rules lie at the heart of China’s maritime disputes, which are about much more than sovereignty over islands and rocks in the South and East China Seas. Rather, the main contests concern the strategic maritime space associated with those islands. To consolidate control over these vital areas, China’s leaders have begun to implement “China’s law of the sea”: building domestic legal institutions, bureaucratic organizations, and a naval and maritime law enforcement apparatus to establish China’s preferred maritime rules on the water and in the diplomatic arena.
In China’s Law of the Sea, Isaac B. Kardon examines China’s laws and policies and analyzes other claimants’ reactions to China’s practices, because other states must acquiesce for China’s preferences to become international rules.
In an interview conducted on April 28, 2023, Isaac Kardon discusses with Bonnie Glaser China’s legal and policy efforts to defend, exploit, administer, and patrol disputed waters.