Geopolitical Rearrangement in the South China Sea

Document Type : Original Article


1 MA of Political Sciences and Islamic Studies, Imam SadiqUniversity, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of International Relations, Imam Sadiq University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract     
The conflict in the South China Sea has made this part of the continent of Asia one of the most sensitive geopolitical regions of the world in recent years. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the regional and trans-regional powers' alignment gradually has taken new dimensions and has made it the focal point for Geopolitical faults of the post-Cold War transition era. The South Sea of China has become a major concern for international security over recent years due to tensions. In addition to having offshore resources and the oil and gas reserves, the region is one of the most important shipping and international trade routes that thousands of ships cross it every year.
The method of research is descriptive-analytic and library documents and information has been used in writing articles. Also efforts have been made to use the latest available resources in light of the ongoing nature of the issue and its many changes.
The most important findings of this research are:
1- special location of the South China Sea
The South China Sea has a unique geopolitical location in the East Asian region; so that in addition to containing rich resources of fisheries, oil and gas, is one of the most important international routes. More than 70,000 ships cross the region annually, with more than 660 million tons of goods transported on the shores of China alone. More than 17 million barrels of oil per day flow through the Straits of Malacca, which is roughly 7 times the Suez Canal and 17 times the Panama Canal.
2- China's "strategic ambiguity" strategy in the South China Sea conflict
China's strategic ambiguity strategy seeks to simultaneously foster the economic interests of China from international trade with its neighbors and global markets as a major asset to its foreign policy, and preserve its vital interests in protecting its land and sovereignty.
3- America's "Balancing Without Containment" Strategy vs. China
The United States has put policy of rebalancing China to maintain the American ruling system in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States has put China's retrogressive policy in place to maintain the American order governing the Asia-Pacific region. The strengthening of alliances and the expansion of US strategic partnerships with regional countries such as Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, India and Indonesia have been considered as strategic partners in the region for this purpose. On the other hand, since China is a normal player in the economic field, and the United States is heavily dependent on global capitalist relations, the United States does not intend to contain this country.
4- Role playing of regional powers and coastal states between the two great powers
Many countries in the region are economically dependent on China, but at the same time they have not forgotten their security concerns about Beijing's growing growth. Thus, while they have the most economic cooperation with China, they are joining the United States in the security dimension and are trying to support their own interests against China's advancements by helping to create a US security umbrella in the region. As a result, the presence of the United States in the region as a regulator has been easily accepted.
With regard to the South China Sea, the United States seeks in the first stage to ensure China's adherence to existing international law, such as sea rights and the freedom of trade, and has explicitly stated this, and balancing with China is in the second phase. The Americans have mobilized the periphery and regional powers to establish coalitions and alliances or have renewed the old treaties to balance against China. China, from the other hand, is trying to reach bilateral agreements with its peripheral countries, separating them from the United States alliance queue and, accordingly, ruling the Chinese order over the region.


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