The head of U.S. Pacific Command said the U.S. would oppose the use of force in resolving disputes over territory in the South China Sea, according to a Wednesday report from the Associated Press. Read More
On Jan. 22, Ma Keqing, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and handed a note verbale informing her that the Philippines was initiating a legal challenge to bring China before an arbitral ribunal under the terms of the U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Read More
The standoff between the Malaysian armed forces and followers of the Sultanate of Sulu, who three weeks prior invaded the Malaysian province of Sabah, Borneo, escalated Tuesday. Read More
The first 056 class No. 582 was officially handed over to PLAN on Feb. 25 as Wu Shengli, Commander of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) personally came to inspect the ship. While it is referred to as light frigate by Chinese news, the ship should be classified as a corvette or offshore patrol vessel (OPV) based on its size and displacements. This class is expected to be the next mass produced PLAN shipping class. Read More
A dramatic three-week standoff on the island of Borneo claimed its first lives Friday, as Malaysian security forces exchanged gunfire—possibly using mortars—with the so-called Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu.Early reports indicate that 10 to 12 sultanate forces, two Malaysian police commandos, and the owner of a house taken by the sultan’s followers were killed in the battle, with further injuries on both sides. Read More
Proceedings, December 2012
In early November the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) returned home to Norfolk, Virginia, to prepare for her December 2012 inactivation. Her final deployment lasted seven and a half months, during which time she steamed nearly 90,000 miles throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Arabian Sea.
This marks the 25th homecoming for the nation’s first and longest-serving nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Built by Newport News Shipbuilding, the Enterprise was laid down early in 1958, launched in September 1961, and commissioned on 25 November 1962. She has participated in every major U.S. conflict since the Cuban Missile Crisis. She is 1,088 feet long, has a beam of 248 feet, and a full-load displacement of more than 93,000 tons. The Enterprise is not due to be replaced in service until around 2015, when the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) joins the Fleet.
For government officials and regional analysts following the security dialogues in Phnom Penh last week (9–13 July) there was good news and bad news. The good news was that the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to the key elements of their Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. The bad news was that the ASEAN foreign ministers could not agree on the wording of the South China Sea section of a joint communiqué.
Good News: ASEAN Agrees on a Code of Conduct
In 2002, ASEAN and China failed to reach an agreement on a COC in the South China Sea. As a compromise they signed off on a nonbinding political statement that took the form of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The signatories agreed to work toward the eventual adoption of a COC.
Implementation of the DOC languished for nine years until China, in an about face, resumed discussions with ASEAN and agreed on guidelines to implement the DOC. China’s change of mind was in reaction to pressure from the international community, led by the United States, criticizing China’s assertive actions against the Philippines and Vietnam. The agreement on the DOC guidelines prompted ASEAN to move on to the next phase—drafting a COC for the South China Sea.
ASEAN has not yet released the official text of its COC. But a detailed outline provided to the author shows it to contain three parts. The first is a preamble listing agreements between ASEAN and China obligating them to settle their disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including the U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).