South China Sea Armed Confrontation
An armed confrontation in the South China Sea between China and one or more Southeast Asian claimants to disputed maritime areas
Territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea could escalate into a military clash between China and one or more Southeast Asian nations. China’s sweeping claims to sovereignty over the sea—and its untapped 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—have antagonized competing claimants Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. China has warned its Southeast Asian neighbors against drilling for oil and gas in the contested region, disrupting other nations’ oil exploration and seismic survey activities.
The United States, which maintains important interests in ensuring freedom of navigation and securing sea lines of communication, has expressed support for an agreement on a binding code of conduct and other confidence-building measures. However, Washington’s defense treaty with Manila could draw it into a Sino-Philippine conflict over the substantial natural gas deposits in the disputed Reed Bank or the lucrative fishing grounds of the Scarborough Shoal. The failure of Chinese and Southeast Asian leaders to resolve the disputes by diplomatic means could undermine international laws governing maritime disputes and encourage destabilizing arms buildups.
- South China Sea dispute rolls on with no resolution in sight
Mark Valencia, South China Morning Post
April 9, 2014
- When is a Rock Not a Rock?
Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy
April 4, 2014
- Banyan: The pressure on the Sierra Madre
March 22, 2014
- Forget Oil and Gas, the South China Sea Just Got More Complicated
Nicolas Jenny, International Policy Digest
March 18, 2014
- Getting Tough in the South China Sea
Robert Haddick, The National Interest
February 25, 2014
- For South China Sea claimants, a legal venue to battle China
Greg Torode, Reuters
February 12, 2014
- The U.S. and China’s Nine-Dash Line: Ending the Ambiguity
Jeffrey A. Bader, Brookings Institution
February 6, 2014
- Avert Conflict in the South and East China Seas
Jonathan D. Pollack, Richard C. Bush III and Bruce Jones, Brookings Institution
January 23, 2014
- China Ascendant: Is Conflict Inevitable?
Rajan Menon, The National Interest
December 17, 2013
- A Game of Shark and Minnow
Jeff Himmelman, New York Times Magazine
October 25, 2013
- Assistant Secretary Russel's Congressional Testimony on Maritime Disputes in East Asia
U.S. Department of State
February 5, 2014
- Air Force Technical Director Fuell's Congressional Testimony: "Broad Trends in Chinese Air Force and Missile Modernization"
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission
January 30, 2014
- Joint Press Availability With Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh
U.S. Department of State
December 16, 2013
- South China Sea
U.S. Energy Administration
February 7, 2013
- China's Maritime Disputes
- South China Sea Tensions
Beina Xu, CFR.org Backgrounder
- China and Southeast Asia: Take Three
Elizabeth C. Economy, CFR.org blog "Asia Unbound"
October 1, 2013
- China’s Maritime Disputes: Are There Any Real Solutions?
Joshua Kurlantzick, CFR.org blog "Asia Unbound"
September 17, 2013
- Armed Clash in the South China Sea
Bonnie S. Glaser, CFR Contingency Planning Memorandum