Securing Maritime Security in the South China Sea: Norms, Legal Regimes and Realpolitik

Carlyle A. Thayer International Studies Association San Francisco, April 6, 2013

Overview
• • • • • Introduction Norms Legal Regimes Realpolitik Conclusion

Introduction
• Emergence of Indo-Pacific region • Importance of Sea Lines of Communication
– Contested, congested, prone to armed strife

• Three approaches – not mutually exclusive
– ASEAN norms – Legal regimes – Realpolitik

Norms
• The ASEAN Way
– Consensus decision-making – Treaty of Amity and Cooperation – ASEAN Regional Forum

• South China Sea
– Two ASEAN Statements 1992 and 1995 – Declaration on Conduct of Parties 2002
• Four CBMs and 5 cooperative activities

Legal Regimes
• • • • • Guidelines to Implement the DOC Implementing the DOC Drafting the ASEAN Code of Conduct ASEAN-China discussions on the DOC ASEAN Foreign Ministers and Senior Official Meeting • 20th ASEAN Summit

Legal Regimes
• • • • • • • Proposed Elements of a Regional COC 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat Cambodia-China Collusion? ASEAN’s Six Principles on the South China Sea Regional Code of Conduct (Indonesia) Philippines: UN Arbitral Tribunal

Realpolitik
• ASEAN
– Multilaterlism a weak reed

• Vietnam
– Lobby US and other major powers – Self-help defence modernisation

• The Philippines
– Territorial defence/military modernisation – Revitalize US alliance

Conclusion
• Despite ASEAN’s efforts to promote norms and legal regimes China has become more assertive since 2007 • Attempts to forge ASEAN consensus have not succeeded • ASEAN weak and internally divided
– Philippines and Vietnam pursue realpolitik

• Prospects for maritime security are not good

Securing Maritime Security in the South China Sea: Norms, Legal Regimes and Realpolitik
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