China stakes sovereignty claims over land parcels and their adjacent waters in the South China Sea, angering competing claimants like the Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Sriparna Pathak, Associate Professor, Chinese Studies and International Relations, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Avoiding another war on the scale of the first two world wars became the most dominant theme of the international system from the 1940s onwards. As countries focused on strengthening themselves to prevent their respective sovereign existences from being threatened, it was soon realized that trade and finance can no longer be regarded as indices of soft power. Trade, investments and finance can actually empower countries in big ways, which can then feed into furthering military security as well. While the focus on economics as an important facet of power grew, the hopes were that through the interdependences created through foreign trade and investments, military aggression and conflicts in turn could be avoided. However, owing to the selfish nature of countries, the realm of economics also soon turned into a realm that saw frequent conflicts. In this context, the example of China’s claims in the South China Sea (SCS) become important.
China stakes sovereignty claims over land parcels and their adjacent waters in the South China Sea, angering competing claimants like the Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. The other claimants besides China, also have staked claims in various zones in the sea- such as those of the Paracels and the Spratly. The only differences in the claims made by China on one hand, and all the other claimants on the other is that China has tried to back its expansive claims with island building and naval patrols in the disputed waters. The United States (US) -the current leader of the existing system, which is not a claimant in the dispute in the SCS, states that it does not take sides in the disputes but has often sent planes and military ships near the disputed islands in ‘freedom of navigation’ operations.
Published in: Hindustan Times
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