The Geopolitics of the South China Sea

Categories: Politics
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About Course

This course offers a deep dive into the complexities of one of today’s most pressing geopolitical challenges, the South China Sea. The chapters will introduce the idea of geopolitics, including the key concept of power as well as theories in international relations such as realism and liberalism. The chapters will then explore the historical roots, significance, key actors, current territorial disputes, and security implications surrounding the South China Sea, highlighting the importance of this region as a strategic global maritime hub. Furthermore, ASEAN’s role in managing the regional dispute will be examined, including the response, challenges, and opportunities they face. Finally, the course will explore the external powers in the region, the reaction of regional actors, and the future implications of the South China Sea in geopolitics. Whether you’re a student of international relations or a keen observer of global affairs, join us as we unravel the intricacies of this vital maritime region. 

“The Geopolitics of the South China Sea” online education course originates and is solely owned by AYO Academy. This platform may include video, images, and interactive content that may differ concerning the course category, duration, and objectives.

This course can be sourced onto the AYO Academy website as follows: the course webpage. The website shall offer progress tracking, attendance, and other necessary course information throughout the learning experience.

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Copyright ©AYO Academy (AYO Academy is a registered learning platform by the ASEAN Youth Organization. Efforts and proven duplication of content will not be tolerated).

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What Will You Learn?

  • Detailed chapter contents can be studied as follows : Introduction to Geopolitics, Navigating the Territorial Complexities of the South China Sea, ASEAN’s Role in Managing the South China Sea Disputes, External Powers in the South China Sea & The Future Implications on Geopolitics.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate and explain the main idea of geopolitics including key concepts and theories in international relations in shaping geopolitical perspectives and approaches to understanding global politics.
  • Students will be able to understand the historical background, significance, complex territorial claims by key regional actors, the present territorial disputes, and their impact on the security of the South China Sea.
  • Students will attain an understanding of the role of external powers such as the United States in the region, the response of the key regional actors, and the future implications on global geopolitics.
  • Students will acquire knowledge on ASEAN’s role in managing the South China Sea such as their responses to contemporary events as well as the challenges and limitations faced by the Association in fostering peace and stability in the region.

Course Content

CHAPTER 1: Introduction To Geopolitics
In this foundational chapter, students will embark on a journey to grasp the fundamental concepts in geopolitics, They will delve into the meaning of geopolitics, the intricacies of power dynamics examined through key concepts, a brief overview of certain international relations theories, and contemporary geopolitical scholars. By incorporating international relations theories and geopolitical concepts into the analysis of the South China Sea disputes, the course plan bridges theoretical knowledge with practical insights. This approach enriches students' understanding and encourages critical thinking.

  • Activity 1.1: PRE TEST
  • Lesson 1: Introduction To Geopolitics.
  • Activity 1.2: POST TEST

CHAPTER 2 : Navigating the Territorial Complexities of the South China Sea
In this chapter, students will explore the background and significance of the South China Sea, a vital trade route with rich fisheries and abundant natural resources. The region's complex territorial disputes involve key actors like China, Taiwan, and ASEAN states, leading to tensions and incidents around contested features like the Paracel Islands Spratly Islands. China's assertiveness, as seen by island-building activities, challenges neighbouring states' claims which can prompt responses through various means such as legal action. These disputes threaten regional stability and have further implications for international relations, fueling an arms race and hindering economic cooperation. Each actor pursues its strategic interests, emphasizing realism in safeguarding sovereignty and access to resources, highlighting the intricate geopolitical dynamics of the South China Sea.

CHAPTER 3: The Role & Interests of External Powers in the South China Sea
This chapter delves into the roles and influences of key external powers in the South China Sea, focusing on the United States, Japan, and India. The United States prioritizes freedom of navigation and does so by conducting military operations and supporting regional allies. Japan, likewise, emphasizes freedom of navigation and a rules-based order, strengthening defense ties with Southeast Asian nations and promoting diplomatic solutions. India, as a major maritime power, advocates for international law and peaceful dispute resolution.

CHAPTER 4: ASEAN’s Role in Managing the South China Sea Disputes
This chapter examines ASEAN centrality and its pivotal role in Southeast Asia's regional security. It discusses ASEAN's principles of non-interference, consensus-building, and peaceful dispute resolution, and how these principles guide its regional influence. ASEAN remains committed to regional peace and stability through diplomacy, international law, and cooperative security frameworks, embodying liberal principles of international cooperation and mutual benefits.

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