South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation: Taking a Closer Look at the Freedom of Navigation 'Myth'

The Diplomat, 2016

6 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2016

See all articles by Jonathan G. Odom

Jonathan G. Odom

Government of the United States of America - U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps

Date Written: March 9, 2016

Abstract

In the ongoing South China Sea situation, People's Republic of China (PRC) government officials and Chinese commentators have attempted to message that any international concern about China’s actions in the South China and their impact on the freedom of navigation is much ado about nothing. They also suggest that, because China has not interfered with commercial ships transiting the South China Sea, the world has nothing to worry about when it comes to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

In response, this commentary will focus on analyzing this “myth” regarding the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (hereinafter, the “FON myth”). The analysis below will attempt to test the FON myth, by (1) identifying the applicable universal standards, (2) correcting inherent fallacies in the myth, and (3) applying those standards to relevant data. Steps 1 and 2 will be covered in this commentary, and Step 3 will be covered in a follow-on commentary.

Keywords: China, Law of the Sea, International Law, Freedom of Navigation, Myth, Mythbusters

Suggested Citation

Odom, Jonathan G., South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation: Taking a Closer Look at the Freedom of Navigation 'Myth' (March 9, 2016). The Diplomat, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2745404

Jonathan G. Odom (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps ( email )

United States

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