Major non-claimant stakeholders, such as Australia, India, Japan, Russia, the United States, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), each have their own reasons for becoming involved in the maritime territorial disputes.

Although none of them claim sovereignty over the maritime features or waters of the South China Sea, they are interested in other important issues, including (1) regional stability; (2) freedom of navigation and the securitization of sea lines of communication (SLOCs); (3) freedom of overflight; (4) maintaining or evolving their own diplomatic, economic, military, or political roles in the region; (5) strengthening or weakening the roles of other countries or actors in the region; (6) strengthening diplomatic, economic, or military relations with other countries; (7) facilitating dispute settlement; and (8) pursuing economic opportunities in the defense, natural resource extraction, or fishing industries. Each major stakeholder is interested in these issues to varying degrees, and their interests may be either explicit or implicit in nature.