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Freedom of the Far Seas? A Maritime Dilemma for China

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: For more than a decade, the People s Republic of China has challenged U.S. military operations and activities in and over the waters of East Asia. But some of the national interests of the United States and China might not be as divergent on these matters as some in China had assumed. China is steaming closer and closer to a potential dilemma: making the right choice could help ensure its economic rise, but making the wrong one could impede or slow down continued success. A nation once focused almost exclusively on coastal-state interests now recognizes that it has increasing user-state interests in the “far seas.” China must reconcile longstanding adherence to a restrictive maritime regime in the “near seas” with expanding interests in the “far seas” that would be better served by a much more liberal approach. A rising China should well consider some of the merits of the American perspective on matters of law of the sea, as the substance of that position could benefit China now and in the future.

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