China’s sovereignty violations in the East and South China Seas:How should Europe respond?


The EU has been content to remain a marginal actor in the maritime sovereignty disputes in the East and South China Seas. It has adopted a diplomatic strategy that stresses the importance of upholding freedom of navigation and confidence building between the states party to the conflict. As argued here, this approach does not take account of the crucial interests Europe has at stake in the conflict. It is made even less tenable by China’s increasingly assertive behaviour towards securing its sovereignty in the region. Europe is at a crossroads: the EU may seek to overcome internal and external challenges to enhance its hard power capabilities, or it may continue to pursue a wholly soft power approach. Either way, how the EU deals with the current dispute will determine, in large part, its future role as a global security actor.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Europe,China,South China Sea,Southeast Asia,ASEAN,Japan,Sovereignty
Publication ISSN: 1865-5831
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 07:33
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 14:59
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 781685819882863 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-10
Published Online Date: 2019-10-10
Accepted Date: 2019-10-01
Authors: Southgate, Laura (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-6011-7492)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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