UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty covers a variety of ocean-usage issues such as transit, mining, research, pollution, and resource management and sets out guidelines for nations. Territorial claims can be submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. On December 15, 2014, Denmark and Greenland submitted a claim to part of the Arctic, including the North Pole, which Russia and Canada each claim as their territory.
In 2013, the Philippines appealed to the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea in settling claims to territory in the South China Sea. On December 7, 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Chinese government's response, arguing that the Convention does not apply to the dispute in the South China Sea.
In April 2014, at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium held in Qingdao, China, twenty-one Pacific nations including the United States signed the Conduct for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), to reduce tensions between different militaries. CUES is not legally binding.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released report 14-299 to congressional requesters in March 2014. The report discusses "(1) current commercial maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic and anticipated activity in the next 10 years, (2) actions taken by government entities in support of planning and developing U.S. Arctic maritime infrastructure, and (3) federal interagency efforts to identify and prioritize Arctic maritime-infrastructure investments."
Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 5, 2014. He discussed tensions in East Asia sea, China's announcement of its Air Defense Identification Zone, and U.S. role in maintaining relations.
On October 16, 2013, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, France, New Zealand, the United States and The Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Union released a joint statement on establishing marine protected areas in Southern Ocean, in the Ross Sea Region and in East Antarctica, for scientific research and ocean conservation.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp released this maritime governance document on May 21, 2013, which will "guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years" based on "three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance, and broadening partnerships."
Sheila A. Smith argues that tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea could seriously harm U.S. interests. She discusses steps the United States could take to de-escalate the crisis.
The White House released these Nine National Priority Objectives Regarding Ocean, Coasts, and the Great Lakes in 2010. The White House released these Nine National Priority Objectives Regarding Ocean, Coasts, and the Great Lakes in 2010. The National Ocean Council released an implementation plan in April 2013.
The East China Sea is a source of vital resources, especially fisheries and natural resources like gas and oil. Regional cooperation on fisheries conservation as well as joint energy development projects could go a long way to offsetting tensions over territorial disputes.
Sheila Smith argues that while recent tensions between Japan and South Korea over territorial issues are deeply worrisome for the U.S. government and for regional stability, the reality is that a stronger bilateral relationship can only come about if it is the Japanese and Korean people that lead the effort on reconciliation.
A comprehensive guide to how international institutions, governments, and NGOs around the world are attempting to protect the health of the world's oceans and ensure freedom of movement across them. This is part of the Global Governance Monitor, an interactive feature tracking multilateral approaches to several global challenges.
Sheila A. Smith examines the way in which the 2010 crisis emerged between Japan and China, arguing that a crisis management initiative between Beijing and Tokyo rather than an overall reconciliation agenda may be what is now needed.
In the wake of a tense ASEAN meeting, CFR fellow Joshua Kurlantzick and CSIS senior fellow Bonnie Glaser discuss the rising tensions between China and other Asian countries over the South China Sea and implications for U.S. foreign policy in the region.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »