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Guerrillas in the Sea Mist

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China’s Maritime Militia and International Law

Building upon recent scholarship about the maritime militia of the People’s Republic of China, this article analyzes a number of concerns about that militia’s status and its activities under existing regimes of international law. First, it lays the foundation of general principles of state responsibility and attribution as they pertain to the maritime militia. Thereafter, it identifies and applies three specialized bodies of international law to China’s use of its maritime militia, including the law of the sea, the use of force by states, and the law of naval warfare. Ultimately, the article concludes that there are serious potential consequences and ramifications under international law arising from China’s maritime militia. Looking ahead, the article then provides a series of recommended options that other nations should consider in addressing these legal problems.

Affiliations: 1: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, United States;


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