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First Published: 2021.01.19
Discipline(s): Politics/ Military Affairs/ Law
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Research on the South China Sea Issue: Perspectives on Strategy Selection series provide a rich collection of 63 papers in total published in journals such as Foreign Affairs Review, Southeast Asian Studies, and Northeast Asia Forum. The authors include Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Zhu Feng, Executive Director of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies of Nanjing University, and other established professionals. The number of Chinese characters totals around 860,000 and that of English words totals roughly 600,000. This Chinese-English bilingual e-book series are composed of two volumes. This volume shares academic achievements on the South China Sea issue from two angles: American Strategy, as well as ASEAN and the South China Sea Issue.
1. Research on U.S. freedom of navigation system and compliance bargaining model: its impact on South China Sea
Northeast Asia Forum,Part 1: American Strategy,Vol 26,No. 01
To enhance the effectiveness of compliance with the defective freedom of navigation operational assertions, on the one hand, the U.S. builds a global freedom of navigation operational assertions at the strategic level and uses all resources available to promote “the freedom of navigation rules” with other countries. ① On the other hand, through the pathways to pushing forward the regime by using strength and wisdom like “building alliance” and “signing mutual trust agreements” within its global freedom of navigation operational assertions, the U.S. reshapes the environment for implementing the freedom of navigation operational assertions so as to put the U.S at an advantage in the compliance bargaining. ② How the U.S. behave regarding the South China Sea is obvious and this article attempts to sort out this behavior pattern and comprehensively examine the U.S. safeguarding freedom of navigation. This study is significant for China’s decision-making to tackle its conflicts with the U.S. on the sea in regard to freedom of navigation.
Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 02
The US adjustment in its South China Sea policy reflects changes in its overall strategic needs and its ultimate target of maintaining a strategic equilibrium and regional stability. The Obama administration’s high profile intervention in the South China Sea disputes is related to its strategy of returning to Southeast Asia and its strategic rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific, as well as its overall plan of coping with China’s rise. In coping with the bilateral relations, in order to step over the Thucydides trap, China and the US should take into account both direct interaction and indirect interaction, manage both core interests and common interests, and safeguard security as well as rights and interests. They should also strike a balance between managing great power relations and handling peripheral relations. If both sides commit themselves to a new type of future-oriented great power relations, the South China Sea issue will not develop into an insoluble problem as is worried by the international community.
3. “Indo-Pacific Strategic Arc” and implications of alignment among the U.S., India, Japan and Australia on security in the South China Sea
South Asian Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 03
From July 10th to July20th of 2017, the U.S., Japan and India engaged in the Malabar 2017 joint military exercises in the Bay of Bangladesh. These exercises targeted the South China Sea, and reflected the continued geo-political expansion of the U.S., India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific region. With the U.S. pivot towards Asia and the Pacific and India’s “act east policy,” Japan and Australia are also actively following in the strategic steps of their American ally, and tilting towards the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Against this backdrop, the U. S. has proposed plans for an “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” which has been received positively by India, Japan and Australia. In recent years, as the dispute over the South China Sea has gradually heated, the U.S., India, Japan and Australia have started to align around the objectives of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” and now constitute a latent threat to the security of the South China Sea. Given that China maintains sovereignty over the South China Sea, it should be prepared to cautiously respond to the strategic motives of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia, and does its best to take a preventative course of action.
4. America’s South China Sea strategy in the context of “rebalance” and its regional security paradox effect
Southeast Asian Affairs,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 04
Since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in 2009, maritime security, especially the South China Sea issue, has become an important pillar in his Asia-Pacific “rebalance” strategy. In the past eight years, in the name of safeguarding peace and security in the region, American government has gradually shifted its stance on the South China Sea issue from keeping active neutral position to attempting to dominant the situation. The emerging South China Sea strategy consists of military, economic, legal and some other aspects, with the support from American government, State Department, U.S. U.S. Department of Defense, Congress domestically and its alliances, quasi-alliances regionally. The constant implementation of the U.S. South China Sea strategy has broken the old maritime security order, intensified U.S.-China strategic competition and torn ASEAN apart. The traditional theoretical narrative of confrontation between maritime power and continental power is seemingly reflected by the current South China Sea standoff. In order to break the paradox, China and the U.S. should shoulder the responsibility of enhancing strategic mutual trust, make new consensus on maritime security, and promote new strategic stability involving different shareholders on the South China Sea issue.
Southeast Asian Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 05
Since Obama administration proposed the “high profile intervention” about the South China Sea affairs in 2010, the South China Sea policy of the U. S. presented the following characteristics． Firstly, Obama administration observed the South China Sea issue from a strategic perspective and put the South China Sea affairs into strategic framework of“pivot to Asia” ． Secondly，Obama administration tried to obtain the naval supremacy in the name of “maintaining freedom of navigation.” Thirdly, Obama administration used the “balance of power” strategy to construct a balance in the South China Sea. Fourthly， Obama administration tried to achieve the goals of South China Sea by “smart power” strategy． Fifthly，Obama administration’s South China Sea policy showed a trend of changing from early fuzzification to clearness and toughness.
Southeast Asian Affairs,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 06
After the United States interfered in the South China disputes in July 2010, America's open position was not taking a side or position on the issue of sovereignty attribution. But since 2015, the United States has increasingly deviated from its attitude of not taking a position, and has taken a position in fact, openly opposing to China's claims to sovereignty. America's policy transformation reflects its anxiety about the transformation of power structure in the South China Sea region, and its need of adjusting its “Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy” to prevent China from challenging the Asia Pacific order dominated by it. America's continuous and deep interference makes the South China Sea issue doom to be a strategic issue on which China and the United States competes on a long-term basis.
7. Comparative analysis of American crisis management in the South China Sea and Diaoyu Islands: taking Huangyan Island and Japan “purchasing” Diaoyu Islands as examples
Southeast Asian Affairs,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 07
Huangyan Island Crisis in April of 2012 and “nationalized” Diaoyu Islands by Japan are two typical crisis cases. In the two cases, the United States both intervened in crisis management as a third party, playing a power balancer. But standpoints and patterns of action are clearly different at the two crises. In essence, this is because the U.S. has different interests in South China Sea and Diaoyu Islands, and the degree that allied countries can help the U.S. achieve its interests decides the degree the U.S. will supports them.
Southeast Asian Affairs,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 08
The Trump administration’ official position concerning the South China Sea conveys some specific content and logic, and has certain implications of action. In terms of the US rhetoric of South China Sea policy, Washington views China as negative “other” and pursues “order, freedom of navigation, militarization and peace.” The logic of this position reveals that the priority of the Trump administration is to maintain its power status in the South China Sea region. It also reveals that the negative image of China is constructed by the US abuse of international law, the right of freedom of navigation, and the stigmatization of China’s activities in the South China Sea. Finally, we can conclude that the Trump administration will take certain actions including long-lasting provocative actions, such as strengthening its relationships with its allies as well as intensifying legal operations and media publicity against China’s South China Sea policy.
9. Issue of freedom of navigation and Sino-US South China Sea conflict: from the perspective of the natural attribute of the ocean
Foreign Affairs Review,Part 1: American Strategy,Vol 35,No. 09
Freedom of navigation constitutes a major issue in the South China Sea conflict between China and the US. Differences between maritime powers and coastal states are thought to be able to explain divergences on the freedom of navigation between China and the US. However, to discuss this issue only in terms of differences between the two types of countries may make it impossible to grasp the consensus and internal differences between the two countries, and thus make a wrong judgment on the real contradiction between them on the issue of freedom of navigation. This is largely because of neglecting the logic that may derive from of the ocean itself. And it is exactly the logic that shapes the relevant cognition and feasible options of the countries on the issue of the freedom of navigation, and limits the divergences of the two countries on the issue mainly to the focus on the opening of offshore ocean space. To ensure their ability to intervene in regional affairs, maritime powers emphasize the maintenance of the opening of offshore ocean space, while coastal states, fearful of threats from the sea, advocate the closure of offshore ocean space.
Southeast Asian Affairs,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 10
Since 1995, the United States has highlighted the issue of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea through government statements, official speeches and government documents and made it appear in the public eyes. Since 2009, the United States has set the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as its national interest. Through the media, it has described China as “destroying” freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and tried to achieve a common understanding among the public. In September 2015, the United States added “Sec. 1263. South China Sea Initiative” in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, establishing the specific provisions to intervene in the South China Sea in the form of law, and then carrying out frequent freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. The United States has taken a top-down “socialization” model for the diffusion of the norms of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, indicating the dominant hegemony of the United States and the use and manipulation its domestic system and those of other countries. This top-down one-way norm cascade of the United States neglects the complex process of norm dissemination and the variability of norms themselves, and ignores the factors that may lead to the emergence of new norms. In this regard, China can make joint efforts with ASEAN to promote the negotiation on a code of conduct in the South China Sea and put it into concrete action through the “ASEAN +” interregional mechanisms, and ultimately promote the birth of new norms of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea through two-way norm cascades.
Northeast Asia Forum,Part 1: American Strategy,Vol 25,No. 11
Disputes of sovereignty and maritime rights in South China Sea region between China and Southeast Asian countries exist for a long time. Historically, there are several international crises during which the United States have involved in. The current development of the South China Sea dispute is closely related to the US Asia-Pacific “rebalancing” strategy. The United States will not stay out in any possible crises of the South China Sea. Under the tight situation and the active US involvement, China should learn from past lessons, strengthen the crisis management mechanism of the South China Sea, and safeguard our national interests.
12. Influence of American “Indo-Pacific” strategy to South China Sea issue: with emphasis on the pivot countries to Indian-Pacific strategy
Southeast Asian Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 12
With the increasing of strategic value of Indian Ocean, the US came up with “Indo-Pacific strategy” on the basis of “Asia-Pacific Rebalance.” The essence of the strategy is to build strategic pivot across Indo-Pacific Ocean area, and making this area into multipolar structure under American hegemony. As American strategic pivot in Indo-Pacific district, India, Australia and Japan have their own important strategic interests. Driven by American strategy, these pivots will bring profound influence towards South China Sea (SCS) region; especially will make China’s peripheral security more complex. Discussing the influence of American Indo-Pacific strategy to SCS issue under the context of Sino-US strategic competition, we could understand better about US Indo-Pacific strategy. It could also help us to analyze the security situation of South China Sea comprehensively and come up with solution.
The Journal of International Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,Vol 39,No. 13
The Obama administration intervened in the South China Sea dispute in a high-profile way, declared its position on the issue of the Code of Conduct (COC), and urged all parties to reach a “full and effective” COC at the earliest possible date. The U.S. proactively pushed the process of the COC by legitimizing its intervention, dominating the discourse power, and unifying ASEAN internal positions. Against the background of its “rebalancing” strategy, the U.S. policy exhibited several characteristics: to carry out its policy with a “whole-of government” approach, to advocate “collaborative diplomacy” for consultation, to play a dominant role in the name of “mediator,” and to underdeliver its promise. The U.S. open intervention in the COC negotiations stemmed from macro, meso, and micro considerations. The Obama administration’s efforts had enhanced the role of the Philippines and Indonesia, pushed ASAEN countries to unify their positions, and influenced the adjustments of Chinese position and policy. In the future, the U.S. will stick to these basic policy guidelines. The Trump administration is expected to reduce the U.S. involvement in the COC issue due to the lack of supporting measures for its policy, its less attention to ASEAN and other institutions, and its encouragement of other extra-regional powers to exert influence. China should seize the opportunity to further play the role of a responsible major power, dispel distractions, and promote peace, stability, and cooperation in the South China Sea with a Chinese approach.
14. China-US cognitive differences and policy interaction on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea
Southeast Asian Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,No. 14
This round of negotiations on the “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)” partly originates from the intensification of strategic competition between the US and China in the South China Sea. It is also an important issue of the game playing between the two sides in the South China Sea in recent years. The cognition of China and the US are influenced by their identity, interest concerns and policy preference, which are different in many ways. Both countries exert influence on ASEAN countries in line with their own perception and carry out policy interactions in order to influence the process and the outcome of the negotiations. The policy interaction between the two countries presents four major features, which are competitive interaction as the basic attribute, indirect and asymmetric interaction as the main pattern, dominating the issue as the core objective and identity as the effect of interaction. Through three stages of interaction and game playing, China has greatly eliminated the interference of countries outside the region and grasped the initiative of the consultations on this issue. Bad-mouthing China through public opinions and colluding with countries outside the region are two main trends of the intervention of the Trump administration on the “COC” issue. In the process of future negotiations on the “COC,” China should further build the identity as a responsible major country, construct the good order of the South China Sea and properly manage the differences and competition between the two countries in this region.
The Chinese Journal of American Studies,Part 1: American Strategy,Vol 30,No. 15
In the strategic context of the Asia-Pacific rebalancing, the Obama administration’s South China Sea policy has undergone two profound adjustments. The adjustment in Obama’s first term mainly focused on imposing diplomatic and public opinion pressure on China. With the strategic plan of the Asia-pacific rebalancing, the framework of the South China Sea rebalancing policy was basically formed. The other adjustment in Obama’s second term was to increase military intervention, strengthen the alliance system and security cooperation network, and support relevant claimants to enhance their military power. With the strengthening of the Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy, the framework of the rebalancing policy was established, consolidated and then put into operation.