Defending the Maritime Rules-Based Order: Regional Responses to the South China Sea Disputes


Defending the Maritime Rules-Based Order: Regional Responses to the South China Sea Disputes


Rebecca Strating

Policy Studies, No. 80


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: 2020
ISBN: 978-0-86638-037-951000 (print) and 978-0-86638-001-051000 (electronic)
Binding: paper
Pages: xv, 80
Free Download: PDF


The seas are an increasingly important domain for understanding the balance-of-power dynamics between a rising People’s Republic of China and the United States. Specifically, disputes in the South China Sea have intensified over the past decade. Multifaceted disputes concern overlapping claims to territory and maritime jurisdiction, strategic control over maritime domain, and differences in legal interpretations of freedom of navigation. These disputes have become a highly visible microcosm of a broader contest between a maritime order underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and challenger conceptions of order that see a bigger role for rising powers in generating new rules and alternative interpretations of existing international law. This issue examines the responses of non-claimant regional states—India, Australia, South Korea, and Japan—to the South China Sea disputes.

About the author
Rebecca Strating is the acting executive director of La Trobe Asia and a senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. She is also a non-resident fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre and an affiliate of the Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University, and she was a visiting affiliate fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. Her current research interests include maritime disputes in Asia and Australian foreign and defense policy. From July through September 2019, she was a visiting Asian Studies scholar at the East-West Center in Washington, DC. She can be reached at [email protected]

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