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NEWPORT, R.I. – The Naval War College’s latest China Maritime Study is now available online. “Military Activities in the EEZ: A U.S.-China Dialogue on Security and International Law in the Maritime Commons” was edited by Peter Dutton, a professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute.
 
The volume is the product of a workshop held in Newport in July 2009 to discuss the different perspectives held by the United States and China on the legitimacy of foreign military activities in a coastal state’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The conference, addressing “The Strategic Implications of Military Activities in the EEZ,” was attended by fifty representatives of the American and Chinese policy, military, legal, and academic communities.
 
“Its aims were to increase mutual understanding of the bases for each state’s perspectives and to add a dimension of richness to ongoing talks between the two countries under the framework of the Defense Consultative Agreement and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement,” Dutton wrote in the introduction. “Eight papers from workshop participants were reproduced [for the publication]; during the two days of substantive discussions each attendee also made other significant contributions to the success of these objectives.”
 
The workshop also highlighted three fundamental areas of contention between the United States and China concerning foreign military activities in East Asian seas. The first relates to China’s rather ambiguously based assertion of jurisdiction over almost all the waters of the South China Sea. The second area of contention touches the American “third rail” of freedom of naval navigation for military purposes. The third area of serious debate was the sincerity of the United States in its desire to develop a more cooperative maritime relationship with China.
 
“While this volume cannot even begin to sketch the outlines of a new security paradigm for the Pacific region, its modest ambition is to help each side see more clearly the nature of the existing friction,” Dutton added. “In seeing the nature and source of friction more clearly—even through the lenses of the other’s eyes—perhaps wise minds on both sides will be able to divine cooperative paths to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region for generations to come.”
 
The December 2010 publication is the seventh in the China Maritime Studies series.
 
By Naval War College Public Affairs