Lecture2Go Catalog Universität Hamburg F.5 - Geisteswissenschaften Asien-Afrika-Institut The South China Sea Conflict after the Arbitration of July 12, 2016: Analyses and Perspectives

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China’s Reaction to the PCA Award

Dr. Gerhard Will
24.11.2017
The South China Sea Conflict after the Arbitration of July 12, 2016: Analyses and Perspectives(WiSe 17/18)

In its first official reactions Beijing declared that the award of the PCA is null and void and would not
affect China’s claims in the South China Sea (SCS); Chinese mass-media used an even more belligerent
language. Notwithstanding this verbal assertiveness Beijing refrained from further provocative actions
so far and followed a multi-pronged strategy:
• Improving the relationship with its main opponents in the SCS: Vietnam and the Philippines
• Increasing its influence in ASEAN to prevent ASEAN forming a common anti-China Position
• Offering new economic opportunities by promoting the Maritime Silk Road
• Strengthening its military position in the SCS to control this area militarily and push back the
military presence of the US, Japan, India and last not least Russia.
The successes China achieved in using this multi-pronged strategy should not hide the fact that there is
irreconcilable contradiction between China’s economic and military strategy. The SCS cannot be at the
same time a crucial link in the maritime silk-road and a theatre of the military rivalry between China
and the US or the other great powers in Asia.
China’s maritime silk-road-initiative of intensified economic cooperation between Asia, Europe and
Africa is part of its engagement for international free trade worldwide. This economic cooperation will
not succeed without a proper framework of international law. Since “China does not longer feel bound
to the current world order which was built largely without Chinese participation” (H. Kissinger), Beijing

has to forge and introduce a new or modified concept of international order which will need to find
sufficient international consent. China’s advancement to the status of a responsible superpower will
depend to a large degree on mastering this task.

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