Assessing China’s South China Sea Policy, 2009-2015

South China Sea claims map

Author/s (editor/s):

Feng Zhang

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Feng Zhang, ‘Assessing China’s South China Sea Policy, 2009-2015’, East Asian Policy, 8(3) 2016: 100-109.

This article identifies three phases of China’s South China Sea policy since 2009: reactive assertiveness from 2009 to 2011, forceful response from 2012 to 2013, and proactive adjustment from 2014 to the present. These three distinct phases suggest that China does not have a grand strategy for the South China Sea. The article also assesses the consequences of China’s island building in the South China Sea and the costs of its deliberate ambiguity on the international legal front.

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