April 22, 2021
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Regional solidarity
Escalating tension in SCS and way forward Recent years have witnessed renewed tensions over disputed territories in the South China Sea. In response to China’s encroaching military maneuvers - and the country’s (purported) designation of the whole area as part of its “core interest”, with Beijing exercising “inherent” and “indisputable” sovereignty based on historical claims-several Southeast Asian countries have found themselves dangerously vulnerable. A murky legal regime has led to the emergence of a series of overlapping territorial claims in the area, with China, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and increasingly both Japan and the United States playing a direct role in shaping the trajectory of the maritime disputes. The maritime disputes are based on age-old historical claims, but broader global trends in the 21st century are largely shaping the geostrategic contours of the South China Sea region. China’s rapid rise, concomitant with seemingly stark US decline in the aftermath of the 2007-08 Great Recession, is creating significant anxiety among smaller states allied to and dependent on Washington. China’s growing military expenditure, meteoric rise in high-end and cutting-edge research and innovation, and increasing geopolitical assertiveness heightened since 2009-10-is changing the complexion of international affairs. Upon a closer inspection,
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