November 10, 2014

Straight Talk on the South China Sea

By Ely Ratner

President Obama’s second daylong summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping will be the best chance this year to clarify some fuzzy lines on Asia’s biggest potential flash point: the South China Sea. This is the time to further clarify U.S. interests, including whether the United States cares about possible outcomes to the region’s many territorial disputes.

China is extremely clear about its interests in this region: It seeks to administer most of the South China Sea within an expansive “nine-dash line” that snakes along the coasts of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. Along with claims to the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands with Japan, China includes these territorial ambitions among other “core interests” like Tibet or Taiwan, making compromise very difficult.

Read the full piece at Defense One.

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