In May, the Chinese continued their program of creating “facts on the ground” by building airstrips and small bases atop the disputed reefs and islets of the South China Sea. At the same time, other governments have taken their claims for the same islets and reefs to a United Nations tribunal which, in theory, adjudicates issues under the Law of the Sea treaty. It is widely expected that the court will declare the Chinese operations illegal—and that the Chinese will ignore its decision. (See “A South China Sea Game Changer?,” April 2016 Proceedings.)
World Naval Developments - President Xi versus Law of the Sea?
By Norman Friedman