After the 1995 Mischief Reef incident, the situation in the South China Sea (SCS) de-escalated. China and other claimants reached significant milestones, such as the 2002 Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the SCS and the accession to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. However, between 2007 and 2009, the tension re-escalated and it boiled over in the 2012 Scarborough Shoal incident. The author suggests that two security dilemmas apply in the SCS between China vis-à-vis other claimants and China vis-à-vis the US.
This book analyses (1) the development of the security dilemma in the SCS, (2) the significance of China’s actions in asserting its claim from the perspective of defensive realist theory, and (3) the rationale of China’s behaviour in the SCS.