This book focuses on a region that, next to the Middle East, has become a dragnet of international conflicts in the world. The South China Sea (SCS) region, furthermore, is the subject over which a rumored war may break out between the United States, the extant superpower, and China, an emergent superpower — should the current power transition end up in a Thucydides Trap. The volatility of the situation has gone beyond the long simmering tensions due to overlapping claims by six contending Asian neighbors, to culminate in a nascent crisis surrounding the US–China contest.
The book's broad sweep provides a careful examination of two tangles: (i) a legal tangle bedeviling China's relations with other competing claimant nations, and (ii) a geopolitical tangle at the heart of the US–China contest, arising from America's instinctual response to the China-threat scare trumpeted by neorealist analysts and media gurus as well. The book reviews what general international law has to say on "historic waters", which is the basis of China's claim, in its disputes with its contending neighbors. It also examines the background of the China-threat scare, to see if it has any merit, in light of both the shifts in the running China debate and the evidence of China's might and intentions.
The book's final part explores a possible way out of the two tangles, in the interest of arriving at a reconciliation of the tensions and conflicts associated with the SCS, so that the United States and China can meet each other across the divide for the sake of a new era of public order, presumably under a condominium they can build together.
Contents: Table of AcronymsTable of Cases CitedIntroductionThe Provenance and Ramifications of the SCS Conflicts: Law, Resources, & Geopolitics"China's Caribbean": Competing Claims by the Parties: A Comparison in History and Law"Historic Waters" in General International Law, and as Tested in Judicial CasesThe PCA Arbitration in the Philippines-China Case: A Critique from General International LawBefore the Storm: US–China Relations in Retrospect — Patterns & AntecedentsThe US–China Contest (I): A Clash of Visions & the Chain of Escalatory ReactionsThe US–China Contest (II): Risk of a Thucydides Trap (?)The Way out of the Legal & Geopolitical Tangles, Dealing with the China-Threat Scare; a New World OrderReferencesIndex
Readership: Policymakers, academics, professionals, undergraduate and graduate students interested in South China Sea disputes and US-China Relations and, the General International Law on the Law of the Sea.
Keywords:South China Sea;Geopolitics;International Law;US–China Relations;New World OrderReview:Key Features:China under XI Jinping has adopted a geoeconomics-oriented strategy, to allow it to pursue an "un-symmetric competition" that will not lead to a military confrontation with the United StatesInstead of balancing against the US hegemon, China has been "bandwagoning" to it, as befitting secondary states in a steep hierarchical system, reminiscent of the Asian Tribute System of yoreInstead of the conventional wisdom that a rising power will try to counter-balance the reigning hegemon, it is the United States that is trying to counter-balance China, insteadIn the age of "vulnerability interdependence", an attempt by China to upset the prevailing system would be suicidal