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The foundation of national strategy is the national interest, that could be the strategic starting point and its ultimate end. The judgment of national interest is the basis of national strategic decision-making, which determines national strategic orientation and direction of strategic actions. For the countries surrounding the South China Sea, the South China Sea issues are directly related to their national interest. Their evaluation of the South China Sea issues’ position in their national interest will influence their strategic orientation and strategic actions they might take. From the perspective of grand strategy, the South China Sea issues are just a part of the claimant countries’ national interest framework. Therefore, only by reasonably and properly defining the position of South China Sea issues in the national strategic system can these countries make rational strategic decisions. Otherwise, they may overestimate the position of South China Sea in their national interest, or may be so short-sighted in their orientation that they might ignore their long-term national interest. If so, these claimant countries may make strategic mistakes. This paper will analyze the position of South China Sea in the national interest framework, and the claimant countries’ strategic choice and their correlation, will try to find the reasonable position of the South China Sea issues, and will illustrate the claimant countries’ rational strategic choice, so as to explain the trend of development of the relationship between countries around the South China Sea.

All too often, the  public  discourse on the conflicting claims  to territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction  in the South China Sea  renders an already complex subject even more complicated.  The mass media and some academic commentators, who should know better, help this trend along by perpetuating, in the face of  the  facts and realities, certain myths related to the disputes.  Some  of these myths  reflect  nationalist sentiments in their  purveyors‟ respective countries,expressed in  public demonstrations and in  traditional and non-traditional channels of communication. Indeed, some of them may have their roots in nationalist motivations. A discussion of some of these myths and the contrary realities follows.

As China emerges as a leading, modern military power in the Asia-Pacific region, the countries of Southeast Asia are increasingly hedging against possible Chinese military adventurism by rearming themselves. At the same time, China is hardly the only reason for the ASEAN states‘ current military modernization efforts. Other external and internal factors  –  such as new regional security requirements, changing military doctrines, lingering regional suspicions, domestic politics, and supply-side economics in the international arms trade  –  have  also  played important roles as drivers of this process.Nevertheless, as China‘s military presence in the South China Sea increases  –  coupled with a growing assertiveness on the part of Beijing to press its claims in the  region  –  any actual or potential ―China threat‖ to Southeast Asia will only grow as the principle driver behind regional military in Southeast Asia.

 

The South China Sea  (SCS)  has long been of interest to scholars of international law and international relations.But attention has been paid almost exclusively to the simmering territorial disputes in the  SCS. While this is justified by the concern that such disputes pose a threat to regional peace and stability, that the management of the territorial disputes in the  SCS  dominates existing literature may belie the fact that  problems associated with the use and management of oceans in general and the South China Sea in particular are interrelated and should be addressed in a holistic way.  This paper canvasses for a more comprehensive approach to cooperation in the SCS through the prism of ocean governance. The paper,  besides  the Introduction and Conclusions, contains four sections.  Section highlights the significance of the South China Sea.  This is followed by a brief overview in Sectionof the territorial disputes and their implications for the management of the SCS. Section 4 points out the shortcoming of the two existing approaches to the management of the SCS  and  Section 5 mentions some principles that inform an alternative approach to the SCS, that is ocean governance.

The South China Sea connects the western Pacific with the Indian Ocean and hence with the rest of the world. Historically its sea lanes have perhaps been most vital to global sea-borne commercial activities. And partly because of its position straddling the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, most of Southeast Asia was embroiled in the commercial streams that swept through the region during the first period of globalization which precipitated the colonization of most of the area. The process of decolonization also brought much turmoil to the region.

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South China Sea Studies

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