‍‍South China Sea crisis and crisis management in China and the United States

ZHENG Yiwei1 XU Yao2

(1.Military Teaching and Research Department, Tongji University)
(2.Teaching and Research Department for Scientific Socialism, Party School of Chongqing Municipal Party Communist of C.P.C)

【Abstract】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.

【Keywords】 crisis management; international crisis; South China Sea dispute; Sino-US relations; national interests; territorial disputes;


【Funds】 Youth Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (15CGJ004) Youth Project of Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of Tongji University (4065219001)

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(Translated by CHEN Man)


    [1]. ① In the White Paper on China's Peaceful Development published by the State Council in 2011, for the first time China put forward its core interests which include the followings: state sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity, national reunification, China's political system and overall social stability, as well as the basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and social development. [^Back]

    [2]. ② South Vietnam, namely, the Republic of Vietnam, was a state established by Ngo Dinh Diem from 1955 to 1975. The regime was supported by the United States until it was overturned by the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on April 30, 1975. [^Back]

    [3]. ③ As the Cold War ended, the foundation of Sino-US anti-Soviet cooperation has ceased to exist. The US strategic view of China's role in Asia has also changed, more inclined to think that China will be a rival. The change also profoundly affected the attitude of the United States towards the South China Sea dispute. [^Back]

    [4]. ① On August 19, 2014, China J-11 fighter intercepted the US P8A reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea. In the process, there was the high risk that the close contact might cause collision. Therefore, crises like the Hainan Island incident in 2001 might happen again, and the consequences of the collision between military aircrafts are unpredictable. [^Back]

    [5]. ② The United States has not joined the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which currently has 152 member states. [^Back]

    [6]. ① The reason for emphasizing the struggle for the interests rather than the principle is that the interests of a country can be exchanged and compromised, but the principle of dispute requires changes in one side's views and opinions and is therefore difficult to make a compromise. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 22-1180/C

Vol 25, No. 02, Pages 37-45+127

March 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Connotations and characteristics of the international crisis management theory
  • 2 A historical review of South China Sea crisis management in China and the United States
  • 3 The US national interests and crisis management characteristics in the South China Sea
  • 4 Countermeasure for China’s crisis management of South China Sea crises
  • 5 Conclusion
  • Footnote