The South China Sea in China’s Developing Maritime Strategy

  • Marc LanteigneEmail author
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


The South China Sea (SCS) maritime sovereignty dispute between China and its neighbours in Southeast Asia had greatly increased in intensity since 2010, and has developed into one of the most complex security questions in East Asia. China has been seeking a ‘small step’ approach to legitimising and clarifying its claims in the SCS, using non-military and incremental policies to avoid an overt balance of power scenario which might provoke a stronger reaction from the United States and its regional allies. This process of restricting SCS policies to incrimental approaches and maintaining a degree of strategic ambiguity in the region has benefitted Chinese policy in the region, but the sovereignty question in the SCS remains open as Beijing's maritime power continues to grow and Washington contemplates its future security role in East Asia on several fronts.


China South China Sea Spratly Islands Paracel Islands Philippines Vietnam United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt (NUPI)OsloNorway

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