The South China Sea is located in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by the countries of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. The Sea covers a 1.4 million square mile area and it “encompasses several hundred small islands, reefs, and atolls that are almost all uninhabited and uninhabitable” (Bader, 2014).
In 1947, the Chinese created the nine-dash line (Beech, 2016). The nine-dash line was drawn to show that China claims almost the entire South China Sea. The nine-dash line starts in the Gulf of Tonkin, stretches down to Malaysia, and ends at Taiwan. China claims everything within the line. The interior of the line includes several islands and reefs throughout the South China Sea. The islands and reefs include the Paracel Islands near Vietnam, the Spratly Islands near the Philippines, Scarborough Reef near the Philippines, and Pratas Island near Taiwan.
However, there are six countries in Southeast Asia, including China, that have claims in the South China Sea. These countries include Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam (Glaser, 2015). China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei all have claims in the Spratly Islands. Vietnam and China claim the Paracel Islands. China and the Philippines claim the Scarborough Reef. There are also several other smaller reefs throughout the South China Sea being claimed by several of these countries.
Although China created the nine-dash line in 1947, it did not start its expansion to several islands and reefs until 1974 and 1988. “In 1974, [China] seized the Paracel Islands from a politically isolated South Vietnam, and in 1988 it clashed with Vietnam in the Spratly group when its Soviet benefactor withd...
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...nity to the United States – that it is not a threat to the United States (Lo, 2015). The placement of any United States naval ships in the area could be seen as a threat to China, leading China to attack. The United States calling China’s claims illegitimate could be seen to China as a threat to its sovereignty and it could attack the United States.
There have been several attempts to try to stop China from expanding into the South China Sea and to try to stop it from claiming almost the entire South China Sea. One attempt was to negotiate a Code of Conduct between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Glaser, 2015). This attempt was unsuccessful, as no negotiation has been made.
For the ASEAN and China to come to a Code of Conduct negotiation, the ASEAN should draft its own Code of Conduct and present it to China.
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