Passive diplomacy based on pragmatism: evolution of the EU’s policy towards the South China Sea issues and its future prospect

JING Xuanlin1 LIU Jinyuan

(1.School of History, Nanjing University)

【Abstract】As the South China Sea issues increasingly become a focus attracting world attention, the EU officially listed it as one of the three major security issues in the Guidelines on the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy in East Asia published in 2012.The EU’s policy on the South China Sea has undergone three stages, namely, a formation stage when the three frameworks were formed, an adjustment one with gradual improvements and a final one when both stability and change existed, which reflects the characteristics of the principle of pragmatism. Although the EU’s policy on the South China Sea is becoming maturing, there are still sharp conflicts among the member states as well as forced passivity from its allies, which are the key bottlenecks containing its regional influence. The EU’s intervention into the South China Sea issues originate not only from its consideration of the transformation of its global maritime strategy, but from its concerns about the safety of the shipping lanes and the possible loss of its economic and trade interests. In addition, the vigilance against China’s development has accelerated the formation of the EU’s policy on the South China Sea. It could be expected that in the future the EU’s policy on the South China Sea will continue to follow the United States in the general direction, but the specific guidelines will present more characteristics of its own. At the same time, the EU’s common position on South China Sea is faced with a risk of being collapsed, which will greatly weaken its overall effects. In fact, the core EU member states will be the real influencing factor. In the longer term, the South China Sea issues may become a potential instrument for the EU to strengthen its influence on East Asian security affairs and to exert pressures on China.

【Keywords】 EU; policy on the South China Sea; pragmatism; passivity; conflicts;

【DOI】

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(Translated by Lin Jing)

    Footnote

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This Article

ISSN:1004-9789

CN: 11-4899/C

Vol 36, No. 04, Pages 66-83

August 2018

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Formation and content of the EU’s policy on the South China Sea
  • 2 Features of the EU’s policy on the South China Sea
  • 3 Contributing factors to the EU’s policy on the South China Sea
  • 4 Possible development of the EU’s policy on the South China Sea in the future and its impact on China
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