Territorial disputes are the most frequently cited cause of wars in history, but do states fight as frequently over islands? This article shows that island disputes are less likely to escalate into deadly conflict.
Category: Issue Briefings (Page 1 of 2)
Far from making progress towards a South China Sea dispute settlement, the Award in the Philippines v. China arbitration case has all but ensured that debate will continue. In particular, the Tribunal’s controversial conclusions regarding Itu Aba (Taiping) Island’s legal status may have already reduced the effectiveness and perceived validity of the Award.
A decade ago, China and the Philippines demonstrated that they had the resolve to cooperate on joint exploration projects, but nationalist outcry in the Philippines derailed these efforts. Now that the Philippines v. China arbitration case has concluded, reviving the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) or a similar program may once again offer a win-win solution.
As the US Navy increases its presence in the South China Sea in an attempt to maintain US primacy in Asia, it risks provoking a military clash with China. If regional stability is to be maintained, the US will need to rethink its strategy and seek a compromise.
Like other South China Sea claimants, Vietnam deploys a range of arguments to support its narrative, including the invocation of historical documents, many of which are Western in origin. Hanoi has argued that such documents are particularly relevant because they come from non-claimant states, yet as with most historical sources, they are subject to interpretation.
The publicity surrounding Sino-Russian relations and the Ukrainian crisis have often overshadowed Moscow’s continued policy of cooperation with other East Asian countries in line with its goals of avoiding excessive dependence on China and becoming a major Pacific power.