For 10 days in July, a familiar kind of conflict occurred in the Pacific. One Asian country had piled concrete on a tiny rock, then called the rock an island and declared a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone around it.Another country was conducting freedom of navigation operations inside that zone, declaring that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea does not permit exclusive economic zones around rocks built up into artificial islands.Familiar – except that the country…


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