||U.S POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTES UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
||Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies
U.S policy under Obama
South China Sea disputes
||This paper examines U.S foreign policy in South China Sea disputes under the Obama administration. The two major actors involved are the U.S and China together with littoral States in Asia whom together with China have territorial disputes in South China Sea. The paper generally examines and analyzes Obama policy towards the disputes together with China’s policy and how the former and the latter respective policies impact their bilateral relations and the situation (stability) of the region (South China Sea).
The study shows that U.S policy in South China Sea of ‘neutral position’ remained ever since it introduced in 1975 until Obama came into office in 2009. However the study shows that eventually under the Obama administration different elements of the policy appear and the depth varies depending on the situation especially on China’s behavior.
The study also shows that Obama policy though took a tough stance at times in the wake of Chinese aggression, Obama generally tend to be more cautious of the consequences that could disrupt and destroy mutual economic interest. Likewise China though continues with aggression as in their land reclamation, there are instances which show cooperation on their part. As such, this study suggests that U.S and China would not fight or militarily confront each other in South China Sea at least under the Obama administration. Minor conflict is expected at times as mentioned but would not escalate into military confrontation at least under the Obama administration.
||TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES IX
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Research Background 1
1.1.1 Pivot to Asia 2
1.1.2 General Origins of South China Sea Disputes 3
1.1.3 Nature of South China Sea disputes 3
1.1.4 Governments Position of US and China in South China Sea disputes 5
1.1.5 Developments in South China Sea disputes since 2009 6
1.2 Research Motives 8
1.3 Research Objectives 9
1.4 Research Methodology 9
1.5 Research Scope 10
1.6 Research Structure 10
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 13
2.1 U.S Position in South China Sea 13
2.2 U.S Interest in South China Sea 14
2.3 Obama’s Pivot to Asia 16
2.4 China’s Position in South China Sea 17
2.5 China’s core Interest and Policy 17
2.6 Debate and Discussion: United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Sovereignty issue in South China Sea 18
2.7 Debate and Discussion: International Relations Theories and South China Sea disputes 21
2.8 The Effectiveness and Constraints of Obama’s policy towards South China Sea disputes 22
CHAPTER THREE: U.S SOUTH CHINA SEA POLICY: PRIOR & DURING OBAMA’S TERM 24
3.1 The Underlying and fundamental of U.S national interest and policies 24
3.2 The Origins and Evolution 26
3.2.1 The United States prior formulation of South China Sea Policy since the 17th Century 26
3.2.2 U.S in South China Sea after the Cold War 27
3.2.3 The U.S formulation of initial elements of South China Sea policy
in 1975 29
3.2.4 The adjustments of U.S policy statements in 2010 30
3.2.5 The re-adjustment of US policy statements in 2012 31
3.2.6 The U.S policy most comprehensive statement in 2014 32
3.3 United States policy measures in South China Sea 34
3.3.1 U.S stronger engagements and enhanced support in Asia 34
3.3.2 U.S recent development of policy measures 40
3.4 Summary 44
CHAPTER FOUR: CHINA’S SOUTH CHINA SEA POLICY 47
4.1 China’s policy origin and evolution in South China Sea 47
4.1.1 Discovery and essence of South China Sea from Chinese perspective 47
4.1.2 Beijing’s delaying strategy since the founding of the PRC in 1949 48
4.1.3 Policy elements since the 1970s 49
4.1.4 Beijing’s cycle of Escalation and Delaying Strategy since the 1980s 50
4.1.5 Policy adjustments since 2000 51
4.1.6 Policy re-adjustments since 2009 51
4.2 China’s causes of policy change in South China Sea 53
4.2.1 Drivers of change in China’s policy 53
4.3 China’s Strategy in South China Sea 54
4.3.1 Diplomatic and Administrative Components 54
4.3.2 Military Components 55
4.4 China’s current policy in South China Sea 55
4.5 Summary 57
CHAPTER FIVE: THE U.S-CHINA RELATIONS AND INTERACTION IN SOUTH CHINA SEA 59
5.1 The Foundation of US-China relations 59
5.1.1 Historical aspects of US-China Relation 59
5.1.2 The US-China after World War II 60
5.2 US-China ‘Distrust’ as a fundamental cause of instability in South China Sea 61
5.3 The US-China Interactions in South China Sea 63
5.3.1 Contradictions and frictions: Declaration on Code of Conduct 63
5.3.2 Contradictions and frictions: Freedom of Navigation 64
(i) United States side 64
(ii) China’s side 65
5.3.3 Contradictions and frictions: Freedom of Navigation within 12 nautical miles 67
5.3.4 Contradictions and frictions: Exploration of resources 68
5.3.5 Contradictions and frictions: Arbitration Case of Philippines vs. China 68
5.3.6 Misunderstanding of policies and actions in South China Sea 72
5.3.7 Confrontation: Incidences of Stand-Off 74
5.4 US-China future interaction scenarios in South China Sea 76
5.5 Summary 78
CHAPTER SIX: THE EFFECTIVENESS AND CONSTRAINTS OF OBAMA’S POLICY IN SOUTH CHINA SEA 79
6.1 The Effectiveness of Obama’s Policy against China in South China Sea 79
6.1.1 Policy Effectiveness over China’s Assertiveness 79
6.1.2 Drivers of policy effectiveness 80
6.1.3 Factors contributing to the Effectiveness of ‘Rebalance’ 81
6.1.4 U.S activities contributing to Obama’s policy effectiveness 83
6.2 Constraints to Obama’s Policy in South China Sea 84
6.3 Risks and Consequences 88
6.4 Summary 90
CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSION 91
7.1 Findings of U.S policies under the Obama Administration in South China Sea 91
7.2 Findings on China’s Foreign Policy in South China Sea 92
7.3 Findings on U.S-China relation and Interaction 93
7.4 Findings on Obama’s Policy effectiveness and constraints 94
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1: U.S Secretaries of States number of States Visits in the first three years 40
Table 2: U.S freedom of navigation within 12 nautical miles since 2015 67
Figure 1: South China Sea and six claimants territorial claim 4
Figure 2: China’s Dashed Lines (1947) and (2009) 20
Figure 3: Timeline of Major Rebalance Statements and Events 33
Figure 4: U.S current and future plan deployment in Asia-Pacific 44
Figure 5: South China Sea Map with China’s nine dash line map 48
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