Blurred Lines: Twenty-First Century Maritime Security in the South China Sea
This chapter explores the South China Sea and how the dividing lines between high and low politics in maritime security have become increasingly indiscernible in the South China Sea, creating a more complex policymaking environment in this contested ocean area. Amid long-standing territorial disputes, two major factors—China’s more assertive foreign policies and a newly acquired military power to back them—have had profound effects on maritime security in the region. The increased frequency of national security encounters with China in the South China Sea has blurred the lines between human, economic, and national security dimensions within the broader category of maritime security. Until the South China Sea disputes are resolved, they will remain in a contested arena where China and others seek to secure and control the vital sea lanes of communication, as well as the region’s untapped natural resources.
The views expressed here are those of the author alone and do not represent official policy or the views of the US Navy, the Department of Defense, and the US Government.