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(Opinion) Face-Off: China vs. ASEAN in the South China Sea and Beyond

2015-01-09 08:29:48       source:National Interest

By Richard Javad Heydarian

January 09, 2015

"By all possible measures, 2014 was a roller-coaster year for East Asia, particularly for the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which have anxiously watched Beijing's widening shadow of influence and territorial assertiveness across the region. China kicked off the year with a bang, introducing a second amendment to its fisheries law in Hainan, which placed additional restrictions on the freedom of movement of foreign fishing vessels, particularly Vietnamese nationals, in the South China Sea. 

This was followed by an intensified showdown with Filipino forces stationed at the Second Thomas Shoal, placing tremendous pressure on the United States to check China's yet-another bold foray into a treaty ally's 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Manila was gripped by panic, keeping in mind the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012, which ended up with Beijing taking full control of the disputed feature and shunning any joint-development/management arrangement with the Philippines."

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