Facing up to China’s realpolitik approach in the South China Sea dispute: The case of the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off and its aftermath
College of Liberal Arts
Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs
This article examines the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off between the Philippines and China as a case of Beijing’s application of realpolitik in resolving the South China Sea dispute. It discusses the legal basis of the Philippines’ claim on the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal. However, since 2010, China has aggressively challenged this claim by building up its navy; undermining the other claimant states diplomatically and militarily; and engaging the Philippines in a maritime brinkmanship game. The 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off is the tipping point in China’s realpolitik moves against the Philippines in the disputed area. Lasting for two months, the stand-off has since strained Philippines–China bilateral relations; strained bilateral ties have further deteriorated as China intensifies its efforts to consolidate its expansive maritime claim, and the Aquino Administration applies a balancing policy towards an assertive power. In conclusion, the article argues that confronted with China’s realpolitik tactic during the Scarborough Shoal stand-off, the Philippines has applied a balancing strategy that draws the United States and Japan into the fray. Interestingly, these external maritime powers are anxious to curtail China’s growing strategic clout in East Asia. At present, China is caught in its own security dilemma as it faces increasing American and Japanese naval presence and pressure in the South China Sea. © 2016 SAGE Publications India Private Limited.
Digitial Object Identifier (DOI)
De Castro, R. C. (2016). Facing up to China’s realpolitik approach in the South China Sea dispute: The case of the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off and its aftermath. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 3 (2), 157-182. https://doi.org/10.1177/2347797016645452
South China Sea—Boundaries—Philippine Sea; Philippine Sea—Boundaries—South China Sea; Philippines--Foreign relations--China; China--Foreign relations--Philippines