Those who worry about the vulnerability of the world's oil shipping lanes should calm down. Oil tankers are more resilient than often presumed, and only the United States has the capability to seriously disrupt maritime traffic -- which it will not do.
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.
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 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.
Seaborne commerce remains the linchpin of the global economy. And beyond trade, a host of other issues, ranging from climate change and energy to defense and piracy, ensure that the oceans will hold considerable strategic interest well into the future. In this report, Scott G. Borgerson explores an important element of the maritime policy regime: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He examines the international negotiations that led to the convention, the history of debates in the United States over whether to join it, and the strategic importance of the oceans for U.S. foreign policy today.
The escalating dispute between Beijing and Tokyo about Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain is a challenge for Washington and raises concerns about Chinese maritime activities in the Asia Pacific, says CFR's Sheila Smith.
Absent evidence of N. Korea's involvement, S. Korea's response to the recent sinking of one of its ships has been measured. But public anger about the incident will impact June elections and increase scrutiny of the defense ministry, says CFR Korea expert Scott Snyder.
Overfishing and environmental strain have put U.S. oceans in serious trouble. CFR's Scott Borgerson says a new report by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative lays out a blueprint for better marine management.
South Korea's charge that North Korea caused the sinking of one of its warships is likely to result in a drawn-out effort to get the UN Security Council to censure Pyongyang, writes CFR's Scott Snyder.
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.
In the wake of the Gulf spill, the United States should craft regional pacts with its neighbors to address pollution and liability issues arising from ever deeper oil and gas exploration, says expert Caitlyn Antrim.
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.