Front Matter

Security, Strategy, and Military Dynamics in the South China Sea

Cross-National Perspectives

Edited by

Gordon Houlden, Scott N. Romaniuk, and Nong Hong

With a Foreword by Stein Tønnesson

First published in Great Britain in 2021 by

Bristol University Press

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  • List of Tables v

  • Notes on Contributors vi

  • Foreword by Stein Tønnesson xiii

  1. Introduction: Strategic Challenges and Escalating Power Rivalry in the South China Sea

    Scott N. Romaniuk and Nong Hong 1

  2. 1Between Competition and War: Complex Security Overlay and the South China Sea

    Joshua Hastey and Scott N. Romaniuk 7

  3. 2The South China Sea as an Echo Chamber of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy

    Scott N. Romaniuk and Tobias Burgers 31

  1. PART IClaimants of the Contested South China Sea
    1. 3China’s Security Interests and Strategies in the South China Sea

      Li Yang 63

    2. 4Taiwan’s South China Sea Policy under the Tsai Administration

      Yann-huei Song 79

    3. 5Vietnam and the East Sea in Its Strategic Thinking

      Đỗ Thanh Hải and Nguyễn Thị Linh 101

    4. 6The Philippines and the South China Sea Dispute: Duterte’s Hedging Approach with China and the United States

      Rommel C. Banlaoi 117

    5. 7Competition, Contention, and Cooperation in the South China Sea: The Malaysian Perspective

      Sumathy Permal 135

  1. PART IINon-Claimants in Southeast Asia
    1. 8A Wary Warrior: Indonesia’s “Soft-Assertiveness” in the South China Sea

      Senia Febrica and Scott N. Romaniuk 151

    2. 9The South China Sea Dispute: Regional Integration, Status Ad Quem, and Singapore’s Position

      Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng 179

    3. 10Cambodia’s South China Sea Policy: From ASEAN Aligned to Echoing Chinese Clientism

      Veasna Var 193

    4. 11ASEAN’s Involvement in the South China Sea Disputes: The Economics-Security Conundrum

      Mingjiang Li and YingHui Lee 215

  1. PART IIIQuadrilateral Security Dialogue States
    1. 12The United States and the South China Sea Question

      John Callahan 235

    2. 13Japan’s Security Interests and Strategies in the South China Sea

      Masafumi Iida 251

    3. 14Australia’s Geopolitics and the South China Sea

      Leszek Buszynski 267

    4. 15India and the South China Sea Crucible: Cautious Inclinations of an Extra-Regional “Leading Power”

      Sourabh Gupta 287

  1. PART IVNon-Claimants in Europe and Eurasia
    1. 16Britain’s Pivot to Asia: The Big Picture

      Ian Park and Kun-Chin Lin 305

    2. 17Balancing and Hedging: The Two Levels of Russia’s Behaviour in the South China Sea

      Alexander Korolev 331

    3. 18South Korea and the South China Sea: A Middle-Power Model for Practical Policies?

      Sukjoon Yoon 349

    4. Conclusion:Looking over the Horizon – Prospects for Settlement of the South China Sea Dispute?

      Gordon Houlden 371

List of Tables

  1. 8.1The frequency of the words “South China Sea” in Indonesian newspapers, and negative representation of China in the dispute (January, 1 2008–October 1, 2019) 158
  2. 9.1Issues that attract ASEAN attention 188
  3. 11.1China’s outward foreign direct investment flow to ASEAN, 2013–17 224
  4. 11.2China’s outward foreign direct investment flow to ASEAN by country, 2017 (US$ in millions) 225

Notes on Contributors

Rommel C. Banlaoi is President of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, a member of the Management Board of the World Association for Chinese and a member of the Board of Directors of China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea. He is Professorial Lecturer at the Department of International Studies at Miriam College, the Philippines and Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). He obtained his PhD in International Relations at Jinan University, China.

Tobias Burgers is a project assistant professor at the Keio Global Research Institute and at the Cyber Civilization Research Center at Keio University, Japan and a non-resident research fellow at the Taiwan Center for Security Studies, National Chengchi University. His research focuses on new technologies – AI, cyber and robotics – and their impact on international security and military relations, with a geographical focus on East Asia. He holds a doctorate from the Otto Suhr Institute, Free University Berlin.

Leszek Buszynski is Honorary Professor at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. He was professor of International Relations in the Graduate School of International Relations at the International University of Japan. He has published widely on Asia-Pacific security issues and is co-editor of The South China Sea: From Regional Maritime Dispute to Geostrategic Competition (2020) and author of The Geopolitics of the Western Pacific: China Japan and the United States (2019).

John Callahan is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, New England College, USA. He is also Director for Combined Online Military Programs in International Relations, Homeland Security, and Public Policy for New England College. He received a PhD in International Studies from Old Dominion University in 2015. His research focus is on foreign policy decision making, framing, and strategic communication. He is a Co-Convenor for the Political Science Association of the UK German Studies Group, focusing on the rise of populism in Europe. Callahan served as deputy spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was honoured to be selected by the Department of Defense and the Department of State to serve as a public affairs officer at the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He has served on the Board of Directors of the International Ambassador Club since 2018.

Senia Febrica is the knowledge exchange associate of the One Ocean Hub, University of Strathclyde. She is also an honorary senior researcher at the American Studies Center, Universitas Indonesia. She received her PhD from the University of Glasgow. Her research on militarized civil society organizations in Indonesia was funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2015–2017). Her book, Maritime Security and Indonesia: Cooperation, Interests and Strategies, was published in 2017.

Sourabh Gupta is a senior Asia-Pacific international relations policy specialist with 15 years of Washington, DC-based experience in a think tank and political risk research and advisory capacity, and is Resident Senior Fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies. His areas of specialization include: analysis of key major power relationships in the Asia-Pacific region (China–USA, China–Japan, China–India, USA–Japan, USA–India, Japan–India relations); political, security, and economic risk evaluation of key states in the Asia-Pacific region; territorial disputes and maritime law-related developments in the Asia-Pacific region; analysis of developments in Asian economic regionalism; and World Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific-related trade policy, politics, and negotiations. He is a member of the United States Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and was a 2012 East Asia Forum Distinguished Fellow.

Đỗ Thanh Hải is Senior Fellow at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. He obtained a doctorate from the Australian National University and a master’s degree in Global Studies from the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Global Studies Program.

Joshua Hastey is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Robertson School of Government at Regent University and Adjunct Professor of Strategy at the United States Naval War College. He completed his PhD in International Studies at Regent University. He specializes in international security and grand strategy, with special interests in the politics of territorial disputes and United States–China relations. Ongoing research projects explore the politics of territorial disputes in the Arctic, the role of power shifts on interstate bargaining, and the effects of regime change on state foreign policymaking.

Nong Hong is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the Institute for China-America Studies. She holds a PhD in the interdisciplinary study of international law and international relations from the University of Alberta, Canada and held a postdoctoral fellowship in the University’s China Institute. She was ITLOS-Nippon Fellow for International Dispute Settlement (2008–2009) and Visiting Fellow at the Center of Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia (2009), at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (2007), and at the Australia National Center for Ocean Resources and Security (2019). She is also a research fellow with the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, China, and the China Institute, University of Alberta, Canada. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining international relations and international law, with a focus on international relations and comparative politics in general, ocean governance in East Asia, law of the sea, international security, particularly non-traditional security, and international dispute settlement and conflict resolution. Her publications include China’s Role in the Arctic: Observing and Being Observed (2020) and UNCLOS and Ocean Dispute Settlement: Law and Politics in the South China Sea (2012).

Gordon Houlden is Director Emeritus of the China Institute, Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of the Alberta School of Business, Canada. He is also Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. Houlden joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1976 and was posted to Havana, Hong Kong (twice), Warsaw, Beijing (twice), and as Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (2004–2006). Twenty-two of his years in the Canadian foreign service were spent working on Chinese affairs. Under Houlden’s leadership, the China Institute has focused on contemporary China studies, with an emphasis on Canada’s trade, investment, and energy linkages with China. He has been interviewed by many Canadian, Chinese, and other international media on Asian economic, trade, and investment issues.

Masafumi Iida is Senior Research Fellow, China Division, National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS). He has held various positions within NIDS, and was assigned as senior staff to the Defense Policy Bureau within the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Additionally, he completed a term as Visiting Scholar with the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University in 2011 and with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College in 2014. Iida has focused his research primarily on China’s foreign and security policies and in particular the growing maritime implications of this relationship within East Asia. His publications in English include, “China’s Foreign Strategy Causes Friction with the Existing World Order,” NIDS China Security Report (2019); “Japan’s Reluctant Embrace of BRI?” Working Paper for BCAS (2018); and “China Establishing Regional Dominance,” Strategic Vision (2014).

Alexander Korolev is Lecturer in Politics and International Relations in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. His research interests include international relations theory and comparative politics with special reference to great power politics and China–Russia–United States relations in East and Southeast Asia. His recent articles appeared in various peer-reviewed journals, including Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Review and Journal of Strategic Studies.

YingHui Lee is Senior Analyst with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. She holds a BA (Hons) in international relations and economics from the University of Reading and a masters in international relations from Peking University. Her main research interests are in maritime security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, maritime trade and the blue economy, and Chinese foreign policy with particular focus on China’s ocean policy.

Mingjiang Li is Associate Professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also Coordinator of the China Programme at RSIS. He received his PhD in political science from Boston University. His main research interests include China–ASEAN relations, Sino-United States relations, Asia-Pacific security, and domestic sources of Chinese foreign policy. He is the author (including editor and co-editor) of 12 books. His recent books are New Dynamics in US–China Relations: Contending for the Asia Pacific (lead editor, 2014) and Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split (2012). He has published papers in various peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Strategic Studies, Global Governance, Cold War History and Journal of Contemporary China. Li frequently participates in various track-two events on East Asian regional security.

Kun-Chin Lin is Lecturer in Politics and Deputy Director of the Forum on Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and obtained his PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford and taught at King’s College London and the National University of Singapore. His research projects include industrial policy and privatization of Chinese state-owned enterprises, energy security, transport infrastructure development, and the economic and security nexus in maritime governance in Asia. He is an editorial board member of Business and Politics, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Maritime Policy and Management, and Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs.

Nguyễn Thị Linh is a research fellow at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. She works on a wide range of maritime security topics including arms build-up, maritime strategies, and nautical politics.

Ian Park is a barrister in the Royal Navy and specializes in international law. He has been a legal adviser on operations to Afghanistan and, on many occasions, to the Middle East. Park is, or has been, a Mountbatten Fellow at Cambridge University, a Hudson Fellow at Oxford University, a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School, a First Sea Lord’s Fellow, and a Freeman of the City of London. He has a doctorate in law from Balliol College, Oxford and is the author of The Right to Life in Armed Conflict (2018). In 2018, he was the winner of the outstanding performance by an HM Forces barrister at the United Kingdom Bar Awards.

Sumathy Permal is Fellow and Head of Centre for Straits of Malacca with the Maritime Institute of Malaysia. Permal’s research areas are on geopolitics and geostrategies in the Asia-Pacific and maritime security issues in the Indo-Pacific. Permal is on the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs Australia and is Associate Member of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies. Permal’s publications include “Post SCS Arbitration Development and Issues Relating to Freedom of Navigation, Rights of Coastal States and Environmental Protection in the ‘Area’” (2018) in Asian Politics and Policy, “The Straits of Malacca: A Critical Sea lanes in the Indian Ocean” (2016) in Pentagon’s Yearbook, and “Malaysia’s Diplomatic and Security Responses” (2016, South China Sea Lawfare: Legal Perspectives and International Responses to the Philippines v China Arbitration Case, Geopolitics Trends in South China Sea 2013–2015, eds Liu and Spangler).

Scott N. Romaniuk received his PhD in international studies from the University of Trento. He holds an MRes in political research, an MA in terrorism, crime and global security, and an MA in military studies (joint warfare). His teaching and research specializations include international relations, military and strategic studies, security studies, terrorism and political violence, and research methods. His current research explores China’s global security and military roles, China’s political, economic, and (cyber-)security policies in the surrounding region including the South China Sea, and the rise of security architectures in Asia, robotic systems in international security, and technology and the future of warfare.

Yann-huei Song is a research fellow in the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei. He is also Global Fellow of the Peace Research Institute Oslo. Song received his masters in political science from Indiana State University and PhD in international relations from Kent State University, Ohio. He has broad academic interests covering ocean law and policy studies, international fisheries law, international environmental law, maritime security, and maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. One of his most recent publications appears in the International Journal of Ocean Development and International Law, titled “The July 2016 Arbitral Award, Interpretation of Article 121(3) of the UNCLOS, and Selecting Examples of Inconsistent State Practices,” (2018). Song is a member of the editorial boards of Ocean Development, International Law, and Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs.

Stein Tønnesson is a Norwegian peace researcher and historian. His doctoral thesis, defended at the University of Oslo in 1991, was on the international history of the Vietnamese Revolution in 1945. His main areas of research are Vietnam, nation building in Southeast Asia, and the disputes in the South China Sea. In the years 2011–16 he led a research programme at the University of Uppsala on “East Asia peace” since 1979. He is a frequent commentator in Norwegian and international media on issues of peace and conflict and writes regularly for the Norwegian weekly Morgenbladet. He has also worked on energy security and has served as a consultant to several Norwegian companies. Since 2007, he has served on the board of Norfund, a state-owned development finance institution.

Hui-Yi Katherine Tseng is Research Associate in the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. Trained as an international law scholar with trade dispute settlement experience (a member of the World Trade Organization dispute settlement team of Taiwan, 2003–2007), her research interests expand from international trade dispute resolutions to legal-political developments in East and Southeast Asia. She is studying regional legal and political issues using an interdisciplinary approach, touching upon international law, geopolitics, history, international relations, political theory, and sociology. Tseng hopes that her research and works can help solicit reconsiderations of the legal-political order in the post-World War II era in this region and help identify new directions and challenges amid the increasing uncertainties of this new era.

Veasna Var completed his PhD in international relations and political sciences at the University of New South Wales at the Australia Defence Force Academy in 2020. His thesis, “Assessing the Impact of China’s Aid on Sustainable Development in Cambodia: 1993–2018,” examines the role of Chinese investment in the development process of Cambodia. His primary research pertains to development studies, Cambodian foreign and defence policy, Cambodian strategic partnerships, Chinese foreign policy, and the role of foreign aid in the Asia-Pacific region. He has published upwards of 30 articles in the field of political science. His professional career includes 30 years’ experience in the public sector and the rank of Brigadier in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. He has also completed masters degrees in strategic studies (Deakin University and United States Army War College), security studies (National Defence Academy of Japan), and Human Resource Management (University of New South Wales, Sydney).

Li Yang is Assistant President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCS). He is also Director of the NISCS Research Center for Maritime Economy. He graduated from the Law School of Wuhan University and got his masters law in 1996. He then became a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, working in the Department of Treaties and Law and the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs successively. Most of his jobs in the Ministry were focused on issues relating to the law of the sea as well as to the territorial and maritime jurisdiction disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. His overseas posts include Counsellor of China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. He joined the NISCS in 2017.

Sukjoon Yoon is a retired captain in the Republic of Korea Navy and is currently a senior fellow of the Korea Institute for Military Affairs. Yoon’s more than 35 years of commissioned service included 13 years at sea as a principle surface warfare officer and several command and staff appointments. He holds a masters in Chinese politics from the National Defense University, Taiwan and a PhD in Chinese military affairs from Bristol University. His academic work focuses on military strategy, maritime/naval strategy, maritime security, and Chinese military modernization.

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