The South China Sea as a frozen conflict in the Indo-Pacific

As part of the cycle of lectures by new researchers at the Institute of Social Sciences, Đurđica Stanković, a Researcher Trainee from the Centre for Politicological Research and Public Opinion, held a lecture on April 19, 2023 in the Great Hall of the Institute of Social Sciences on the topic “The South China Sea as a frozen conflict in the Indo-Pacific“.

During the lecture, the importance of the South China Sea, which represents one of the world’s most important seas, will highlighted, not only because it is rich in natural resources and significant biodiversity, but also because it represents an important maritime route for global trade and communications. About a third of world trade takes place through the South China Sea, and it is the second busiest maritime corridor, after the Mediterranean Sea. In this regard, the lecture aimed to point out that the geostrategic position of the South China Sea represents an immediate danger from territorial and maritime disputes that exist in it. „Why is the South China Sea disputed and why are the major powers in this area breaking their spears and threatening to lead the world into a new uncertain crisis?“.

The special focus of the lecture was devoted to China’s strategic positioning towards the South China Sea and to the policy of building artificial islands, which are the seats of numerous military facilities and which lead to the expansion of Chinese territorial sovereignty. One of the key issues discussed during the lecture is whether the militarization of the South China Sea and the rapid development of the arms and navy industry in the PRC pose a maritime security challenge and dilemma for the states in the region, as well as the USA, which is particularly concerned about the foreign expansionist policy of the PRC.

At the end of the lecture, it was concluded that with the expansion of China’s territorial sovereignty and control of airspace, a part of the territory that once belonged to everyone and where countries had unhindered, free passage of ships and overflight of airplanes, thus ceased to be publicly accessible to everyone. Unilateral Chinese action led to the expansion of territorial sovereignty, which the Chinese military uses to develop combat systems with the aim of complete control of the South China Sea. The refusal to accept the judgment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which found that the China has no historical right to the South China Sea, speaks in favor that China creating new rules of the international game in the Indo-Pacific and developing new practices of deviating from the observance of international law.

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30. 11. 2022.

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