South China Sea Dispute


As the world watches the situation unfold in Ukraine, some have turned their thoughts towards Taiwan and wonder whether there will be even more conflict (1). However, tensions in the east go beyond Beijing’s “One China” policy towards Taiwan, and into the South China Sea. Despite the focus on nations squabbling over maritime boundaries, the true dispute boils down to the hegemonial battle between east and west.

Increased Chinese presence and influence in the South China Sea has served to strengthen the AUKUS alliance, who claim they are committed to Indo-Pacific “peace and stability” (2). This, ironically, is China’s stance as well, who has further accused the US of divisive behaviour by hyping up a local dispute in which they have no part (3). The Philippines, currently in an elections year, will play a pivotal role in determining which side ends up being the major player in the region. The multi-island nation -colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century, became Americanized following the 1898 US-Spanish war, and the US has maintained influence into the present day. However, during his 6-year presidency, outgoing president, Duterte, decreased his country’s US dependency and rebalanced its US/China relations (4). The question now is whether the Philippines wishes to align with China, the US, or be independent. The answer will be established by the upcoming elections (5).

The decades-long tensions at the eastern frontlines of the “Dawning Global Wars” exemplifies the core of geopolitical disputes: control of resources determines global dominance (6).



 

References

  1. US-General warnt: China k¨onnte USA im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum herausfordern

  2. Australia and UK deepen security ties amid China worries

  3. China is committed to peace in South China Sea despite US provocations

  4. The Limits of Duterte’s US-China Rebalance

  5. Scenarios for a post-Duterte Philippines

  6. Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea