September 05, 2014

China’s ‘nine-dot’ line makes for choppy South China Sea

China's economic influence in Cambodia and Laos is set to undercut ASEAN's response to China's maritime assertiveness. Meanwhile, a nationalist turn in China -- vis-à-vis both the South China and East China Seas -- will lead Beijing to ignore pressure to revise its nine-dot line and reject a binding Code of Conduct in the disputed waters. The United States' Asia 'pivot' will act as an important counterweight, but risks fuelling Beijing's insecurity -- and counterproductively -- its nationalism.

While Myanmar -- as ASEAN's 2014 chair -- attempts a fine geostrategic balance, South-east Asian littoral states are likely to be more assertive, particularly Vietnam, which will extend military and economic engagement with likeminded stakeholders Japan and India and seek to invoke the UN Law of the Sea Convention.
Competing claims mapped out in the South China Sea

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