China’s rise is causing a major upheaval in international relations. The South China Sea is one of the major theatres where a rising China is confronting the existing status quo, threatening not just the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries’ maritime claims but also the influence of the US and Japan in the region. What is at stake is not just the territorial claims but also potential hydrocarbon resources, security of international maritime trade and local fishing economies. But despite rising tensions, common interests remains in ensuring that the sea trade remains unaffected. China is still ASEAN’s largest trading partner. The involvement of third parties, while complicating the situation, will help keep conflicting interests in check.
The BCJIA recently sat down with Professor Erik Jones, Director of European Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Director of the Bologna Institute for Policy Research, to discuss his newest book, as well as current developments in American foreign policy. Below are excerpts from the interview.