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Monday, July 11, 2016

A Chance to De-escalate South China Sea Tensions

Summary:  Despite increasingly strident rhetoric, new developments offer a potential opening for more constructive engagement between China and the Philippines.
China and the United States have been feeding an escalatory security dilemma in the South China Sea, with Beijing jealously protecting its extensive sovereignty claims and Washington resisting being pushed out of its traditional sphere of influence by a rising China. Each claims to be defending against the other’s actions. Their rhetoric is growing increasingly strident.
On July 12, 2016, the arbitration tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will issue its judgment (or award) on fifteen issues raised by the Philippines against Chinese claims in the South China Sea. China has refused to participate in the deliberations and has mounted a publicity campaign to dismiss the impending ruling. Beijing would be better off preparing to seize the ruling as a turning point away from increased tensions.

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