East Asia's Maritime Disputes: Fishing in Troubled Waters

Alan Dupont, Christopher G. Baker
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Spring 2014
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Few doubt that China's rise is this era's principal driver of strategic change, just as the United States' equally influential ascendancy shaped the last. But earlier optimism that the Middle Kingdom's re-emergence as a major power would be largely benign is fading as evidence mounts that Beijing is determined to press its territorial and resource claims in the vitally important seas of the Western Pacific. In barely the blink of a geopolitical eye, China's once lauded charm offensive has given way to exactly the kind of coercive behavior its critics have long predicted. In a 3,000-mile maritime arc running from the East China Sea to the southern reaches of the South China Sea, Beijing is at loggerheads with many of its neighbors, including erstwhile friends, over several linked territorial and resource disputes. If not wisely managed, these disputes could bring East Asia's long peace to a premature and bloody end.
Political Geography
China, East Asia