Thứ ba, ngày 22 tháng 10 năm 2019

S. D. Pradhan

The South China Sea (hereafter referred to as the East Sea) is witnessing dangerous developments and the chances of tension generating incidents flaring up in a conflict have significantly increased. With the passage of time the situation in the East Sea has become complex clouding all positive gains. While all disputants are showing interest in having a Code of Conduct to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in the region, Chinese reluctance is palpable. China neither likes to discuss the issue in any multi-lateral forum nor wishes to change its stance on the nine-dashed lines. In addition, China is gradually acquiring features and had placed an oil rig in the EEZ of other country. In fact China has evolved a game plan to control the East Sea by redefining the boundaries and converting this as its base to expand in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The recent escalation in Chinese aggressiveness indicates that China intends to adopt a muscular policy to achieve its objective. Such aggressiveness is witnessed in all the regions in its periphery. Chinese actions are intended to change the status quo. Unless the International Community takes effective steps to check Chinese aggressiveness, peace in the region would remain a distant dream. The need to pressurise/ persuade China to accept a COC and behave as a responsible Asian nation can hardly be over-emphasised.

The paper examines the recent developments in the South China Sea/the East Sea with special focus on the activities of the main player i.e. China and their implications. The paper is divided into five parts. The first part focuses on the contradictory signals coming from China on the resolution of the South China Sea/the East Sea. The second part covers the broad policy of China towards the areas in its neighbourhood it is claiming. This part covers the implications of the Chinese policy towards the South China Sea/the East Sea including recent massive land reclamation activities. The third part covers key judgements emerging from the study. The fourth part covers India’s perspective on the issue. And the fifth part covers the suggestions that include maintenance of status quo and finalisation and implementation of COC.

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