South China Sea disputes : the evolution of balance of power strategies
Date of Issue2018
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Divided into three parts, this dissertation examines the evolution of balance of power strategies implemented by the United States of America, China and the ASEAN -with a specific focus on Vietnam and the Philippines- in regards to the South China Sea territorial disputes. It will highlight the voluntary decisions made by states to either stabilise the issue by adopting an associative balance of power approach or competitive approach. Following a detailed examination of the concept of balance of power, a chapter will be focusing on the associative balance of power via the formal and tacit implementations of and socialisation to norms and guidelines which characterises the years 2002-2008. The Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea is a perfect example of such associative guidelines. Lastly, the competitive balance of power strongly results from a heightened security dilemma between the incumbent and rising powers. Therefore, the USA executes its "Pivot to Asia" at a time where China is being perceived as greatly assertive over its South China Sea sovereignty claims. It gives evidence of both American and Chinese military aggressiveness. The dissertation concludes by briefly discussing the choice made by secondary states involved in the South China Sea and how the conflict will evolve.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science