China and the South China Sea: The Emergence of the Huaqing Doctrine

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Virginia Tech

China and the South China Sea region will play an important role in global and US strategic policy for the foreseeable future. Because China is an upcoming global economic power, the US and other nations must become cognizant of China's motivations in the South China Sea in order to avoid conflict, which seems inevitable. The purpose of this thesis is to examine China's conflicts/tensions in the South China Sea, specifically the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Taiwan, ASEAN, and US Navy. Discussions on the evolution of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will also provide additional insight to China's actions in the region. Understanding China's history, role, and claims in the region begins to paint a picture that the PLAN are operating under a principle very similar to the Monroe Doctrine, which allowed the US unfettered access to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Lastly, the thesis will demonstrate that the Chinese version of the Monroe Doctrine as well the country's desire to establish dominance in the South China Sea, which she sees as her "lost territory", is derived from the fear of an encirclement strategy implemented by the US and a nascent US-backed collective security regime, ASEAN.

China, South China Sea, International Relations, ASEAN, US