March 1, 2021
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Mounting tension
South China Sea dispute and ASEAN position Maritime sovereignty disputes in the region, particularly in the South China Sea, have been a source of tension and a destabilizing factor in the Asia-Pacific region. To translate the vision of “a peaceful and prosperous Community” into reality, ASEAN needs to address internal differences and garner a collective power of unity that pushes for a peaceful and durable solution to the South China Sea issue, such as setting up mechanisms to maintain maritime order and stability, prevent tensions and avoid escalation into armed conflicts. Mounting tensions in the South China Sea recently have stemmed from the large-scale renovation of reefs and atolls by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the ensuing construction of dual-use infrastructures on these artificial islands. Such activities by the PRC constitute serious violations of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the 1982 UNCLOS), and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (the DOC). Chinese activities have changed the status quo in the South China Sea, altered facts and natural features, endangered marine environment, violated freedom and safety of maritime and air navigation, and heightened regional security dangers, all to the detriment of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. To deliberate the ongoing tension, recently, Centre for
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