Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2014

Managing Tensions in the South China Sea: Comparing the China-Philippines and the China-Vietnam Approaches

Li Jianwei

April 2014

S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies


Although disputes in the South China Sea are in general under control since 2009, developments show that China-Philippines and China-Vietnam are two key relationships that have experienced incidents leading to fluctuating levels of tension in the South China Sea region. This study reviews the evolution of these two relationships in relation to bilateral disputes in the South China Sea and the respective approaches to managing these disputes, with emphasis on the post-2009 period. By comparing the China-Philippines and China-Vietnam approaches, it intends to analyse the differences/similarities and their implication on the management of the South China Sea disputes, as well as their bilateral relations in a broader sense.