CHINESE AND INDONESIAN ASSERTIVENESS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, 2010-2021
Malley, Michael S.
Glosny, Michael A.
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Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea has increased in the last decade. It also has affected Indonesia, whose exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the North Natuna Sea intersects with the Chinese “nine-dashed line.” However, there has been a lack of data about Chinese actions and Indonesian responses. To remedy this problem, this thesis creates the first dataset of Chinese and Indonesian assertiveness in the area of their overlapping claims for the period from 2010 to 2021. The thesis reaches three main findings: (1) From 2010 to 2015, Chinese assertive actions were rare and were taken in response to Indonesian assertiveness, but from 2016 to 2021 Chinese assertive actions became more numerous and were undertaken without any prior Indonesian actions; (2) Chinese assertive actions toward Indonesia have been less severe than Chinese assertive actions against other South China Sea claimants; and (3) Indonesian assertiveness toward China has not resulted in a decline in Chinese assertiveness in the North Natuna Sea. These findings provide the first comprehensive assessment of Chinese behavior in Indonesia’s EEZ and a strong basis for policy to defend Indonesia’s sovereign rights in the North Natuna Sea, to avoid counter-productive actions, and to prepare for a long game with China.
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