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Home Trung tâm dữ liệu Biển Đông Dr. Ian Storey, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: CAUSE FOR CONCERN
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NameDr. Ian Storey, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: CAUSE FOR CONCERN
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Dr. Ian Storey, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore
 
"Tensions are on the rise in the South China Sea and this has worrisome implications for peace, stability and cooperation in the region, the subtitle of this session. In my presentation this afternoon I would like to address recent developments by examining three broad themes: first, the underlying causes of rising tensions, particularly the role played by China; second, ASEAN’s lackluster response to increased friction over the past two years and the shortcomings of the dispute management mechanisms it has put in place with the PRC; and third, the implications of rising tensions on regional stability.

 
PART I: WHY ARE TENSIONS ON THE RISE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA?

 
In the first half of this decade the South China Sea dispute moved to the back burner of Asian security concerns. This was partly due to the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001 which put the spotlight on the threat posed by transnational terrorist groups, and the subsequent US-led military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mainly, however, the relaxation in tensions in the South China Sea can be attributed to the more flexible and accommodating stance adopted by the PRC. Cognizant that its assertive posture in the South China throughout the 1990s had fueled fears of a “China threat” in Southeast Asia, in 1999 Beijing agreed to discuss the problem with ASEAN in a multilateral setting. These discussions led to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC). The DoC was one component of China’s “charm offensive” towards Southeast Asia, a diplomatic campaign designed to assuage regional fears over its rising political, economic and military power — other measures included the 2001 proposal to establish a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and China’s accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 2003, ASEAN’s 1976 non-aggression pact..."

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