Limited Conflict and Partial Control: Escalation of Conflict on the South China Sea and the Strategies of the Concerned Parties



This paper briefly reviews the changing situation of the South China Sea in 2014 and the first half of 2015. It analyses the behaviour and motivations of concerned parties and evaluates the effects of the strategies they have adopted. It argues that although the related parties of the South China Sea, such as China, the Philippines and Vietnam and indirectly related countries such as the US all stress the importance of maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea, their intentions to control the situation have weakened to a certain degree. In fact, they hope for the escalation of the conflict to a limited degree rather than any reduction in the tensions, and conflict management instead of conflict resolution. Under the joint force of the policies and their implementation by different parties, the situation in the South China Sea has the potential to escalate, with the risk of igniting a more serious conflict.

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