Introduction: Unknotting Tangled Lines in the South China Sea Dispute

  • Jing Huang
  • Sharinee Jagtiani


With a constant resurgence of tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the prospects of developing an effective and long-term “solution” to the issue are becoming increasingly challenging. The dispute exists within a complex web composed of claims of historical sovereignty, legal ambiguities, and a relatively constrained Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Most importantly, Southeast Asian regional security hinges on the geopolitical climax of two major powers, the United States and China, both seeking to establish a primary and lasting presence in the region. While the shadow of external actors weighs heavily over choices and decisions of Southeast Asian countries, leaders in claimant countries have used sovereignty disputes as rallying points to solidify the legitimacy to govern their own people. As a result, the disputes now involve an irreversible nationalistic sentiment that leaders themselves might find challenging to dismiss when it comes to making compromises while negotiating solutions.


Democratic Progressive Party Domestic Politics Energy Information Administration Energy Information Administration Spratly Island 
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© Jing Huang and Sharinee Jagtiani 2015

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  • Jing Huang
  • Sharinee Jagtiani

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