This paper was read at the international conference on “Rising China in the Global Oil Market: Order Taker or Game Changer” Department of Diplomacy, National Chenchi University, 16 December 2011, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. Originally presented at the Third International Workshop “The South China Sea: Cooperation for Regional Security and Development,” Hanoi, Vietnam, 3–5 November 2011. This an updated and longer version of a paper that was presented in a conference on “Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Development in the South China Sea in the New Context,” Institute of Chinese Studies and Center for ASEAN and China Studies, Vietnamese Academy of the Social Sciences, Hanoi, Vietnam, 20–22 September 2011.
The Risk of Applying Realpolitik in Resolving the South China Sea Dispute: Implications on Regional Security*
Article first published online: 9 AUG 2012
© 2012 Center for International Studies, Inha University
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 262–289, August 2012
How to Cite
De Castro, R. C. (2012), The Risk of Applying Realpolitik in Resolving the South China Sea Dispute: Implications on Regional Security. Pacific Focus, 27: 262–289. doi: 10.1111/j.1976-5118.2012.01084.x
- Issue published online: 9 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 9 AUG 2012
- South China Sea Dispute;
- East Asian security;
- territorial dispute
This paper examines the regional security implications of China's realpolitik approach in its territorial claim over the South China Sea. It observes that China uses the following power-politics tactics: (i) citing a historic claim; (ii) applying a bilateral approach to weaken ASEAN; (iii) relying on a divide-and-rule stratagem in dealing individually with ASEAN member states and creating a wedge between ASEAN and the USA; and (iv) buttressing its naval capabilities to resolve the territorial dispute according to its own terms. This consequently has driven the small claimant states, like Vietnam and the Philippines, to adopt a balancing strategy that involves the USA in the issue. In conclusion, the paper argues that with China's realpolitik approach, the idea that Europe's (violent) past is becoming East Asia's future is turning into reality.