Wednesday, July 20, 2016

More heat than light in Australian FONOPs [Freedom of Navigation of Operations] debate

Greg Raymond, "More heat than light in Australian FONOPs debate,"

(Wrong?) image from

Promoting the importance of international law is clearly something that is very much in Australia’s interest. My colleague Danielle Cave and I have advocated that Australia’s public diplomacy could do more here. Australia shouldn’t assume that international law and UNCLOS have much sway in countries of our region. Rule of law and separation of powers have very shallow roots in many of these nations. The job here is to persuade our neighbours that a region where international law prevails is one in which peace and security is more likely to endure for all, large and small countries alike.
Bishop has made a start in this direction by drawing attention to the reputational costs that China will face if it ignores the ruling. Here time is not on China’s side. Although the ASEAN and South East Asian response has been muted at this point, it is likely that over time the ruling will be repeatedly raised and will provide an unwelcome distraction for China’s leadership. Because of the permanence of borders and maritime rights in the South China Sea, defying international law is likely to be more burdensome for China than the comparative case, the US’s defiance of the outcome of the 1986 International Court of Justice case. ...

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