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The South China Sea: What is to be Done?

Audio and transcript from the Shorenstein APARC China Program seminar, "The South China Sea: What is to be Done?", on March 8, 2017, with Donald K. Emmerson.

 Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have made ambiguous, intransigent, and overlapping claims of “sovereignty” and “rights” in the South China Sea. China has enlarged and weaponized “its” land features and denounced and ignored the July 2016 decision by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that denied China’s claims of “rights” within its vastly encompassing “nine-dash line.” The court also disallowed claims to sea space in excess of twelve nautical miles around land features in the Spratlys. China’s refusal to negotiate with the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a group and its use of yuan diplomacy have worsened the disunity of member states. Chinese procrastination and intra-Southeast Asian rivalry have stalled implementation of an existing but routinely violated Declaration on Conduct and prevented agreement on a meaningful and enforceable Code of Conduct. American policy toward China appears to have shifted from objection to provocation. The question is urgent: What can and should be done?