South China Sea Dispute

Topics: South China Sea, Southeast Asia, Vietnam Pages: 30 (10784 words) Published: October 24, 2010

Nowadays, the conflict of territory solving in the world causes many complicated problems among countries, as well as tensions in foreign policies. One of these conflicts is the dispute in South China Sea between China and six neighbor ASEAN countries. With the intervention of the United States, the issue turns to be more serious as it attracts a lot of concerns from international community. This research tries to find a clear way of understanding the South China Sea conflict, specifically about the effort of China and Vietnam to gain the control over the two groups of islands: Paracel and Spratly. The hypothesis intends to express the possibility about Vietnam’s victory in this conflict with the help of the United States. Hence, the authors want to discuss about causes and effects under the lens of international relations. In reality, the dispute is still up for debates and it still needs more and more talks and balancing policies from all sides.

South China Sea Dispute: An International or American Affair?


In the Southeast Asian region lays a body of water and islands which have been disputed about for the possession of them. This area by international term is known as the “South China Sea.” (Keep in mind that they do not have any correlations with China but it is rather just an international name.) This body of water runs along territories belonging to China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, and many other countries. Within this body of water, there are well over 200 islands which are un-inhabited by people and contain useful resources. Considering that the sea does not surround just one country which can claim authority over it, it is difficult to determine who has the right to these islands. There are no laws on who these islands belong to. This dispute brings into many questions about sovereignty, law of the sea, and resource ownership rights on an international level if more than one country surrounds the sea and each has interests and claims attached to them. Many different countries throughout the centuries all have laid claims to the islands from the Philippines, Cambodia, Japan, and Brunei. The two biggest disputes over claiming territory of the islands is between China and Vietnam pertaining to the Spratly and Paracel Islands (these are the English names of these islands which we will be using considering each country has its own name for them in their language). However, in the course of current years, this dispute has reached beyond these two main players and now involves a third party, the United States of America.

The topic of this research paper focuses on the dispute between China and Vietnam over the Spratly and Paracel Islands and how does the United States play a vital role in this dispute. The hypothesis of this argument is that Vietnam has a stronger claim over these islands with the support from the United States because it has stronger political and military influence in respect with China. However, this brings into question of how and why the United States plays such a vital role in the possession of these islands for Vietnam. This research addresses the following:

1. Historical Background

a) Leads up to the dispute and why it is such a complicated matter today.

2. China:

a) China’s side of the argument about why and how it should gains possession over the islands and how United States does not want China’s control?

3. Vietnam:

a) Vietnam’s side of the argument about why and how it should gains possession over the islands with the help of the United States?

4. The role of the United States in the matter:

a) What motive does the United States have in trying to help Vietnam gain control over these islands and what power does the United States have in doing so that Vietnam cannot do it alone?

5. Analysis of the dispute:

a) Putting the regional...
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