China’s Assertiveness in the South China Sea: Have ASEAN’s Endeavors in Establishing Regional Order Truly Failed?

  •  Bama Putra    


The territorial disputes in the South China Sea have become the major flashpoints of both potential and existing conflicts in Asia. With claimant states from both China and member states of ASEAN, the aggressive military gestures of the claimant states have led to a myriad number of confrontations throughout the years. The inevitability of ASEAN being in the center of the disputes, have led many critics towards the regional organization on its capacity to establish any significant changes towards the dynamics of the South China Sea disputes. This research argues the opposite of the existing academic literatures, which views ASEAN as not an ideal actor in facing the fast paced dynamics of the South China Sea conflicts. It argues of ASEAN’s ability and capacity to persuade China into some forms of compromises into its policy, reflected through its defined position of a conflict management institution throughout the South China Sea crisis. The research thus argues how there is an existing misperception of ASEAN’s conflict management endeavors with the occurrence of China’s recent assertive gestures, ASEAN’s ability in instilling cooperative values and confidence building measures among conflicted states, and relevance of ASEAN’s multilateralism measures despite of China’s historical stance of bilateral means of conflict resolution in regards to the South China Sea conflict.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.