1st Edition

Freedoms of Navigation in the Asia-Pacific Region Strategic, Political and Legal Factors

By Sam Bateman Copyright 2020
    122 Pages
    by Routledge

    122 Pages
    by Routledge

    The need for freedoms of navigation in regional waters is frequently mentioned in statements from regional forums, but a common understanding of what constitutes a particular freedom of navigation or the relevant law is lacking.

    This book discusses how law, politics and strategy intersect to provide different perspectives of freedoms on navigation in the Asia-Pacific region. These freedoms are very important in this distinctively maritime region, but problems arise over interpreting the navigational regimes under the law of the sea, especially with regard to the rights of foreign warships to transit another country’s territorial sea without prior notification or authorisation of the coastal state, and with determining the availability of high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight in an exclusive economic zone. The book explores these issues, referring in particular to the position of the main protagonists on these issues in Asian waters – the United States and China – with their strongly opposing views. The book concludes with a discussion of the prospects for either resolving these different perspectives or for developing confidence-building measures that would reduce the risks of maritime incidents.

    Providing a comprehensive yet concise overview of the various different factors affecting freedom of navigation, this book will be a valuable resource for those working or studying in the fields of international relations, maritime security and the law of the sea.

    Table of Contents

    Author’s Biography

    List of Figures and Tables

    List of Abbreviations



    Chapter One – Introduction



    Setting the Scene

    Special Features

    Sovereignty Disputes

    Development of the Freedoms of Navigation

    Freedoms of Navigation in East Asia


    Chapter Two – Navigational Regimes


    Innocent Passage

    Transit Passage

    Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage

    Normal Mode of Transit


    Chapter Three – Exclusive Economic Zone Issues



    Development of the EEZ Regime

    The EEZ as International Waters

    Vexed Issues

    Way Forward

    Chapter Four – Building Understandings and Confidence


    Different Perspectives

    Conflicting Maritime Strategies

    Maritime Confidence Building Measures

    Ambiguities and Uncertainties

    U.S. Freedom of Navigation Program


    Final Thoughts


    Sam Bateman retired from the Royal Australian Navy as a Commodore (one-star) and is now a Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong, Australia.