This article argues that the South China Sea (SCS) conflict has been a successful case of conflict prevention since the early 1990s, and in fact, that a transformation has occurred, from a fragile peace to a more stable peace. The article asks why there has been, and continues to be, relative peace in the SCS, despite the fact that many factors—as well as predictions by neo-realists and most U.S. policy analysts—point in the direction of military conflict. The findings show that the relative peace is the result of two interlinked categories of processes: elite interactions and regionalization. The former takes the form of Track 2 diplomacy and personal networks, while the latter is the outcome of the combined forces of Sino-ASEAN rapprochement and economic integration and interdependence. Here, China’s acceptance of multilateralism and the ASEAN+3 process have been of foremost importance.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 35-69
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.