Skip to main content

CISSM Global Forum | China's Law of the Sea: The New Rules of Maritime Order

Back to All Events
Isaac Kardon

Isaac B. Kardon, Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Author of China's Law of the Sea: The New Rules of Maritime Order

Registration for this event is not required but is appreciated (for planning purposes).

Students and faculty interested in joining Isaac for a post-talk chat in Thurgood Marshall Hall, please reach out to Devin Entrikin at 

Event Description

China’s Law of the Sea is the first comprehensive study of the law and geopolitics of China’s maritime disputes. It provides a rigorous empirical account of whether and how China is changing “the rules” of international order—specifically, the international law of the sea. Conflicts over specific rules lie at the heart of the disputes, which are about much more than sovereignty over islands and rocks in the South and East China Seas. Instead, the main contests concern the strategic maritime space associated with those islands. To consolidate control over this vital maritime space, China’s leaders have begun to implement “China’s law of the sea”: building domestic legal institutions, bureaucratic organizations, and a naval and maritime law enforcement apparatus to establish China’s preferred maritime rules on the water and in the diplomatic arena.

Speaker Bio

Isaac B. Kardon (孔适海) is senior fellow for China studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining Carnegie’s DC-based Asia Program in 2023, Isaac was assistant professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he was a core member of the China Maritime Studies Institute. He studies Chinese foreign and security policy, with specialization on maritime disputes, port development, overseas military basing, and China-Pakistan relations. Kardon’s book, China’s Law of the Sea: The New Rules of Maritime Order (Yale, 2023), analyzes PRC influence on “the rules” of the law of the sea. His writing on China’s foreign ports and basing appears in International Security, Security Studies, Foreign Affairs, and the Naval War College Review, and has been delivered as congressional testimony and briefed across the joint force and interagency. Kardon earned a PhD in Government from Cornell University, an MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies from Oxford University, and a BA in History from Dartmouth College. He was China & the World post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University, and held visiting appointments at NYU School of Law, Academia Sinica, and the PRC National Institute for South China Sea Studies. He studied Chinese (Mandarin) at Peking University, Tsinghua University, Hainan University, and National Taiwan Normal University.


For Media Inquiries:
Megan Campbell
Senior Director of Strategic Communications
For More from the School of Public Policy:
Sign up for SPP News