This thesis examines whether Confucian strategic culture can be used to examine China’s behavior in the South China Sea disputes, with the focus on the China and Philippines relationship. Since the establishment of relationships in 1975, Philippines-China relationship has benefitted greatly thanks to China’s “good neighbor policy”, despite some low-intensity conflict, has led to an overall positive development in the relationship. However in the past several, this relationship has deteriorated immensely— described by observers to have taken a 180 degree turn— due mainly to the South China Sea dispute as each side has been accused of taking unilateral steps to violate mutually signed agreements, international law, and the norms of status quo. Given China’s growing status in the region, and in the world for that matter, does its actions in the dispute, which have been described as “belligerent”, “aggressive”, and “revisionist” by the West, signal the coming of age of a state out to establish itself as a regional hegemon as the realist school predicts?
Keywords: South China Sea; China-Philippines; Confucian Strategic Culture
More about this thesis (2014 April)