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This series features brief discussions with leading China experts on a range of issues in the U.S.-China relationship, including domestic politics, foreign policy, economics, security, culture, the environment, and areas of global concern. For more interviews, videos, and links to events, visit our website:

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

May 8, 2023

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, 2023Isaac Kardon discusses with Bonnie Glaser China’s legal and policy efforts to defend, exploit, administer, and patrol disputed waters.

0:00-1:00 introductions

1:00-7:50 China’s maritime evolution

7:50-17:45 South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait

17:45-24:09 Southeast Asian maritime order

24:09- How should the world respond?

About the speakers:

Read the transcript here:

Follow Bonnie Glaser on Twitter: @BonnieGlaser

Follow Isaac Kardon on Twitter: @IBKardon

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