Maritime Security in the Asia-Pacific: China and the Emerging Order in the East and South China Seas

Dr. Kun-Chin Lin and Dr Andrès Villar Gertner argue in this Chatham House Research Paper argue that the maritime domain embodies unique risks that require different solutions from those deriving from a Westphalian notion of statehood and land-based projection of power. The United States and China in particular need to exercise statesmanship in the deteriorating context of the South China Sea. Four dimensions of tensions are evaluated: geostrategic balance, national identity politics, regional and domestic institutions, and international maritime law.

Instruments and institutions of collective commitment, voluntary compliance and dispute resolution – from bilateral agreements on fisheries management to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – are available to support shared values on sustainable development of ocean resources and freedom of navigation. More generally, the authors argue that a breakthrough in maritime governance will depend on the representation of a broad constituency that encompasses trading sectors, fisheries, energy and transport industries, scientific communities, NGOs, think-tanks, environmental activists and local communities.

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2015

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