Potential for conflict in the Spratly Islands
Chin, Chin Yoon
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This thesis examines the potential for conflict in the Spratly Islands and determines whether the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between China and ASEAN on November 4, 2002 together with ASEAN's multilateral confidence-building measures mechanisms are able to prevent or manage this dispute. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have laid claims on some or all of the islands. Many scholars have argued that the economic and strategic values of the Spratlys Islands underlay competing claims in the Spratlys. In response to this, ASEAN is using Track I and II diplomacies to pursue solutions and confidence-building measures to prevent the dispute from escalating into a conflict in the region. All claimants except Taiwan are signatories. Can this dispute be resolved without Taiwan's participation? This study concludes that this is a multilateral dispute that needs to be solved multilaterally by all the claimants. However, unless all the signatories adhere to the principles of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, no guarantee exist that this can prevent claimants from taking unilateral actions
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