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ASEAN in the South China Sea conflict, 2012–2018: A lesson in conflict transformation from normative power Europe

K. Cheeppensook ()
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K. Cheeppensook: Chulalongkorn University

International Economics and Economic Policy, 2020, vol. 17, issue 3, No 9, 747-764

Abstract: Abstract For decades, overlapping territorial claims to the South China Sea have had a destabilizing effect in East and Southeast Asia, with broader implications beyond the region. Four ASEAN countries (Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) are direct claimants in the South China Sea conflict. ASEAN’s role, as a regional organization, in facilitating peaceful resolution of these claims and maintaining stability is challenging because the conflict presents potentially divisive rifts among ASEAN members themselves. This paper explores ASEAN’s role in managing the South China Sea conflict by examining the actions of two non-claimant states that functioned as country coordinators for ASEAN–China relations from 2012 to 2018: Thailand and Singapore. The efforts of these two countries as honest brokers shed light on how ASEAN can deal with this ongoing crisis so as to ensure the organization’s ongoing effectiveness and sustain regional harmony. The concept of normative power is employed to explain the potential role of non-claimant states in conflict transformation.

Keywords: ASEAN; South China Sea; Normative power Europe; Y80 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10368-020-00477-z

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