The ASEAN-Led Multilateral Venues and the South China Sea Issue: the Asia-Pacific SLOC Security
The chapter explores the ASEAN-led multilateral security mechanisms in synergy with the South China Sea (SCS) issue, including its sea lanes of communication (SLOC) security dimension. Specifically, main imbalances in the ASEAN Regional Forum (the ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus Eight (the ADMM+8) and the East Asia Summit (the EAS) have been explored. Addressing the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), the paper reveals factors which undermine negotiations between China and ASEAN substantiating them with a relevant historical retrospect. Finally, the paper turns to the verdict issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (the PCA) and analyses it from an instrumental perspective, namely, the potential of global instruments to influence on the South China Sea issue and, by extension, on the SLOC security in the Asia-Pacific region. The paper argues that neither regional nor global instruments have sufficient potential to shape the South China Sea issue, which has a negative aftereffect on the Asia-Pacific maritime security including its SLOC dimension.
Finally, an overview is given of the recent events that have contributed at various times to the fading and inflaming of the conflict in the South China Sea, as well as their potential role in the future process of resolving the dispute. The escalation of confrontation between the USA and the PRC, the world’s major powers, has a projection on the relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, which reflects a structural crisis of regional security architecture.