International law under siege in South China Sea

By Douglas Gates*
CHINA’S seizure of a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) in the South China Sea last month garnered widespread attention. The drone was an oceanographic research instrument, available for commercial purchase off the shelf and without any value for capture. Although Washington and Beijing seemed to resolve the issue within a few days, other commentators have noted that the incident fits into a pattern of Chinese behavior surrounding American transitions of power.

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