Since 2013, Beijing has been gradually yet persistently eroding the foundation of the international legal order and chipping away at international resolve to safeguard the same. In the maritime space, based on the strength of what the country terms its ‘historical rights,’ China has been engaged in a long-term project at consolidating its presence and hold over the rocks, reefs and islands, which per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are beyond its jurisdiction. Towards this end, Beijing has employed an assortment of grey-zone tactics for enforcing its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea (SCS).
This panel will explore the significance and utility of a rules-based order; the strengthening of responses among South China Sea littorals; the position of Indonesia and also ASEAN responses to the issue; the Taiwan-China-US dynamic — how the South China issue is one of the most vital areas of potential conflict, and how China’s appropriation of the South China Sea area has implications for Taiwan's own sovereignty; and the potential of political incentives that can be offered by the regional and international order to deter China from continuing its unilateral activities. It will also look at how the SCS issue impacts geopolitics of the larger Indo-Pacific region.