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This is a pre-copyedited version of an author commentary published online in the The Mackinder Forum on October 30, 2014. It was originally presented at the American Society for Competitiveness Conference-Tysons Corner, VA. October 17, 2014. The definitive publisher-authenticated version can be found here: http://www.mackinderforum.org/commentaries/china2019s-nine-dashed-map-maritime-source-of-geopolitical-tension/china2019s-nine-dashed-map-maritime-source-of-geopolitical-tension.

Abstract

The South China Sea (SCS) is becoming an increasingly contentious source of geopolitical tension due to its significance as an international trade route, possessor of potentially significant oil and natural gas resources, China’s increasing diplomatic and military assertiveness, and the U.S.’ recent and ongoing Pacific Pivot strategy. Countries as varied as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and other adjacent countries have claims on this region’s islands and natural resources. China has been particularly assertive in asserting its SCS claims by creating a nine-dash line map claiming to give it de facto maritime control over this entire region without regard to international law on claimed land features and without providing transparency for the rationale behind its assertions. Regional countries are responding by increasing defense spending and developing responses to Chinese assertiveness such as the 2014 Australia-Japan defense technology sharing agreement. This presentation will examine the reactions to Beijing’s assertiveness by other Asian-Pacific countries including Australia, Japan, other Southeast Asian countries, and the U.S.

Keywords

geopolitics, South China Sea, cartography, security studies, energy policy, international law, military conflict, AirSea Battle Doctrine, China, United States

Date of this Version

10-30-2014