Analysis of the geopolitical struggle for control of the South China Sea

January 30, 2014

Dr. Christopher Yung has been examining the various tactics utilized by the numerous claimants to sovereignty over the South China Sea.  Last year, he published a short power point summary of his research to date.  Earlier this week, he presented more detailed findings at the East West Center in Washington, DC.  Dr. Yung has found that China has been by far the most aggressive claimant in the region, issuing hundreds of claims and utilizing multiple tactics and forums for presentation.  The other claimants are neither organized or nearly as aggressive in meeting this concerted Chinese diplomatic push.   Dr. Yung does not state as much, but China’s aggressiveness in making vast claims over the area may end up creating a virtual fait accompli in the eyes of the rest of the world.  China is attempting something akin to an anschluss – a reclamation of what they consider ancestral territory and a re-incorporation of said into China proper, at the expense of her weaker neighbors.  And the other world powers are responding not unlike they did in the 1930s.

Dr. Yung’s Map of Competing Territorial Claims in the South China Sea


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