South China Sea Territorial Disputes: Navigating Rough Waters

This 10-chapter volume, which I co-edited with Professor Huang Jing (Director of the Centre on Asia and Globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore), contains analysis by leading experts examining all aspects of the ongoing territorial spats involving China, ASEAN, the U.S., and other states in the Asia-Pacific region.  The volume is unique in that it brings together the perspectives of authors on both sides of the Pacific to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various facets of this multidimensional dispute.  More information may be found on the Palgrave Macmillan website or on

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Onus on US, China to resolve territorial disputes

A piece I published on the East Asia Forum.  “If we are indeed at an ‘inflection point’, then all states — including China — need to act responsibly to ensure that the change is constructive. For the United States, it might be helpful to acknowledge that its rebalancing act to Asia came on too fast and too strong, and that pushing forward with its web of regional military alliances is counterproductive to the overall theme of eventual cooperation.”

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Improving Democratic Goverance in Asia

A piece I wrote for, examining the link between America’s recent government shut-down, domestic economic issues in Asia, and regional territorial disputes.

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Co-operate and Share: A Way to Peace in the South China Sea

My analysis of the South China Sea dispute in the Fall 2013 edition of Global Asia.  What is actually at stake, and to what extent is nationalism to blame?  These are some of the questions I examine.

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Minor Spats over South China Sea Signal Major Changes

Analysis I provided for the International Peace Institute’s Global ObservatoryThese are my “key conclusions” from the piece:

  • Stakeholders can be cautiously optimistic about managing the dispute in such a way that overall economic and political cooperation is minimally disrupted, but the behavior of China and the United States is central to the final outcome.
  • Management of the dispute involves concerted efforts in strengthening these areas: respect for international law, economic cooperation, domestic policies, transparency in diplomacy, and effective military engagement.
  • ASEAN’s ability to foster dialogue on the issue is limited by political pressure on ASEAN chairs from other countries, especially China.
  • There are key steps that can be taken to help foster cooperation, including adopting a forward-looking approach that de-emphasizes the unresolvable historical claims espoused by the countries involved.
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Vietnam must keep cool head in China row

My post on CNN’s GPS blog, reflecting on my recent trip to Viet Nam, including a visit to Ly Son Island off of the central coast. I suggest that Viet Nam might gain more by ignoring, or at least quietly contesting, China’s provocations in the South China Sea area.

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Dialogue and the Deep Blue Sea

Avoiding an adverse outcome in the South China Sea area will depend on claimant states’ willingness to place a high priority on strategic cooperation – including on energy exploration, fishing rights, and the maintenance of open sea-lanes.  My piece on Project Syndicate.

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