Regime building in the South China Sea - current situation and outlook



Publication Details

Bateman, S. (2011). Regime building in the South China Sea - current situation and outlook. Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs, 3 (1), 25-33.


This article reviews the current situation in the South China Sea, the legal status of the sea, and the factors that have prevented effective cooperation in accordance with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. It concludes with recommendations regarding possible regime-building activities for the region. The situation in the South China Sea is a major obstacle to a stable maritime security regime and good order at sea in Southeast Asia. Factors that inhibit progress with developing effective management regimes for the South China Sea include the sovereignty disputes over islands and reefs in the sea, the lack of agreed maritime jurisdiction, and the failure of littoral countries to honour their obligations under relevant instruments of international law. The article argues that it is now necessary to find some other means of managing the South China Sea and exploiting its resources, which is not based on unilateral jurisdiction and sole ownership of the resources.

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