Determining the determinants: factors of change in China's South China Sea Strategy, 1995–2015

Yves-Heng Lim, Jiye Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

China's strategy in the South China Sea has gone through considerable changes over the last decades. While multiple oscillations have occurred over short periods of time, the three‐decade‐long “trend line” has been characterized by two major inflection points. China's provocations in the mid‐1990s were followed by a transition to cooperation at the turn of the millennium, itself followed by a shift toward heavy‐handed methods since the turn of the 2010s. While each of these two “transitions” has been studied in great detail, few studies have tried to apply explanatory models to both of the transitions to assess their strength. This article fills this void in the existing literature by examining how major explanatory frameworks are distributed into two main categories – domestic and systemic – and perform in explaining China's changing strategy in the two transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-228
Number of pages29
JournalPacific Focus
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • China
  • South China Sea
  • leadership
  • nationalism
  • ASEAN
  • military power

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