WiSi Online 1/2024: Sovereignty and Maritime Conflicts in the South China Sea - An analysis of US-China competition

Endlich ist es wieder soweit: Unsere WiSi Online-Redaktion hat ein wissenschaftliches Paper in der Sonderedition veröffentlicht! Besonders freuen wir uns, dass es sich dabei um die mit unserem wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchsförderpreis “Goldenen Eule 2023” ausgezeichneten Bachelorarbeit handelt. Das Paper wurde von Jonathan Proksch zum Thema “Sovereignty and Maritime Conflicts in the South China Sea. An analysis of US-China competition” geschrieben.

Strategic competition between the United States and China has manifested itself in economic tensions, diplomatic disputes, and notably, in the contested maritime space of the South China Sea. The spatial conflicts over sovereignty and maritime rights in the region are examined using the theoretical frameworks of action-oriented geographic conflict studies and critical geopolitics. By analyzing official documents and existing literature, the study deconstructs the goals, action strategies, and the strategic constructions of space of the US and China from 2009 to 2022. Notable findings include the use of so-called “salami-slicing” and large-scale land reclamation by China, while the US focuses on strengthening alliances and maintaining a military advantage. The conflicts are significantly shaped by the rules of the socio-political framework and the actors’ strategic constructions of space, exemplified by the PRC’s nine-dash line and the US’s discursive language of “national interest”.