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Counteracting Chinese Hegemony in the South China Sea

Counteracting Chinese Hegemony in the South China Sea

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Published by: The American Security Project on Aug 06, 2012
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www.AmericanSecurityProject.org1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 710W Washington, DC
Counteracting ChineseHegemony in the SouthChina Sea 
Matthew Baker August 2012Key Facts
•
Te South China Sea potentially holds vast Natural Gas reserves:
Te EIA esti-mates that total gas resources in the South China Sea are almost 900 trillion cubiceet.
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•
China’s demand or Natural Gas is growing rapidly:
China demanded 131.7bcmo natural gas in 2011, up rom 24.5bcm in 2000. In 2020 this gure is expected togrow to 375bcm.
•
China cannot produce enough Natural Gas to meet its demand:
In 2011 China consumed 131.7bcm o natural gas, while it only produced 100.9bcm.
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•
China sees untapped reserves in the South China Sea as a way to meet demandand oset increasing imports:
Te Chinese Government believes the reserves in theSouth China Sea hold one-third o China’s total oil and gas reserves.
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•
Te Chinese Government has asserted rights to vast stretches o the South China Sea that are contested by regional states:
Increased Chinese diplomatic, economic,and military activity in the South China Sea – an area with territorial disputes be-tween more than hal a dozen countries – presents a potential threat to the sovereignterritory o States in the region, including American allies such as the Philippinesand Indonesia.
•
Te Chinese Government contests the legal rights o competing states to areaso the South China Sea:
On July 25 Hong Lei, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokes-person, announced that “the UN Convention on the Law o the Sea (UNCLOS) isnot the legal basis to determine the territorial sovereignty o the Huangyan Island”in dispute between China and the Philippines.
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 Matthew Baker is a Adjunct Junior Fellow at the American Security Projec
 
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 AmericAn security project
Current erritorial Disputes in the South China Sea 
•
Te entire Spratly Islands – an archipelago o more than 100 islets and rees integral to controlling theSouth China Sea – which are claimed by China, aiwan, and Vietnam
•
Conict between Malaysia and China, Brunei and China, and the Philippines and China over territo-rial waters
•
 An overlap between Chinas claims and Indonesias Natuna Islands (although the Chinese have assuredthe Indonesian government that China does not claim the islands or its Exclusive Economic Zone)
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•
Various other conicting claims rom Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam
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Energy use o states contesting territory in the South China Sea is increasing, particularly China (Source: Te World Bank).
 
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Disputed claims in the South China Sea (Source:CIA Maps and Publications or the Public)
Te Chinese Government’s proposed “nine-dotted line” sketches out Chinese claims to the South China Sea.China asserts sovereignty over this area based upon the EEZ and continental shel principle. It has also usedhistoric records o the Han and Ming dynasties to bolster its claims.
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Te Chinese Government is looking to solidiy its claims in the South China Sea, most recently evident in thecreation o Sansha Municipal People’s Congress on Yongxing Island.
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 Americas role in the South China Sea 
Te U.S. has played a prominent role in the Asia-Pacic region or over a century. America can continue toplay a signicant part in maintaining regional stability by acting as a counterweight to increased Chinesehegemony in the South China Sea.
Te U.S. has signifcant economic interests in diplomatic solutions to territorial disputes in the SouthChina Sea.
Te U.S. currently acts as a strategic guarantor to smaller states in Southeast Asia and a counterweight toChinese hegemony in the region.In June, Deense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announced a ‘pivot’ in U.S. Naval policy rom a “50/50 split

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