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The Regional Consequences of Territorial Disputes: An Empirical Analysis of the South China Sea Disputes

Kentaro Sakuwa

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 2017, vol. 4, issue 3, 316-336

Abstract: How do territorial disputes shape regional contexts within which politics among local states takes place? This paper analyses regional impacts of territorial disputes drawing on the case of South China Sea and statistical data. I argue that ‘local security externalities’ produced by ongoing territorial disputes influence not only direct disputants but also other states in the regional neighbourhood. Escalated disputes in the South China Sea exacerbated China’s relationships with Japan—which is not a direct disputant—because Japan shares important stakes in the disputed area and China’s assertive policy was perceived as a sign of its willingness to use force and pursue a ‘hegemonic’ ambition in the region. Such effect is also confirmed by a time-series of analysis of the post-Cold War Sino-Japanese relationships. Thus, this paper empirically shows that ongoing territorial disputes may influence a larger group of regional states, thus shaping a regional context for political interactions.

Keywords: International conflict; rivalry; regional politics; time-series analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1177/2347797017732228

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