The Routledge Handbook of the South China Sea presents a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of South China Sea issues. It evaluates the dynamics of the latest developments and identifies factors that contribute to dispute settlement and a cooperative management regime of one of the most important seas in the world – one which not only contains rich marine resources and distinctive biodiversity but is also a critical sea route for global trade and communications.

The Handbook is divided into six parts, each representing a focused area of enquiry:

• History and geostrategic landscape

• Sovereignty and maritime entitlements

• South China Sea policies of major claimants

• Natural resources and environment

• Cooperation and institutions

• Challenges and prospects

Written by world-renowned experts and scholars, with specialisms from geography to international law, the volume’s 25 chapters contribute interdisciplinary perspectives, reflecting the impact of how South China Sea policies are shaped by national governments and international organizations. As such, the Handbook provides an authoritative reference to South China Sea Studies, useful for students and scholars of international relations, history, maritime and Asian studies.

chapter |6 pages


ByKeyuan Zou

part Part I|82 pages

History and geostrategic landscape

chapter 1|22 pages

The South China Sea

Geographical overview
ByVivian L. Forbes

chapter 2|15 pages

The South China Sea

Historical developments
ByStein Tønnesson

chapter 3|19 pages

Sea lines of communication and safety of navigation

BySam Bateman

chapter 4|24 pages

Maritime security and demilitarisation of the South China Sea

ByMary George

part Part II|76 pages

Sovereignty and maritime entitlements

chapter 5|13 pages

The territorial sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea

ByTed L. McDorman

chapter 7|23 pages

The U-shaped line and its legal implications

ByKeyuan Zou, Qiang Ye

chapter 8|19 pages

Historic rights and the South China Sea

BySophia Kopela

part Part III|76 pages

South China Sea policies of major claimants

chapter 9|17 pages

China’s South China Sea policies

ByFeng Zhu, Lingqun Li

chapter 10|15 pages

Malaysia and South China Sea disputes

Applicability of international law
ByBA Hamzah

chapter 11|26 pages

Deciphering Duterte’s foreign policy on the South China Sea

ByJay L. Batongbacal

chapter 12|16 pages

Vietnam’s South China Sea policy

ByNguyen Hong Thao

part Part IV|80 pages

Natural resources and environment

chapter 13|19 pages

Fisheries management in the South China Sea

ByDustin Kuan-Hsiung Wang

chapter 14|16 pages

Governance of non-living resources in the South China Sea

ByYen-Chiang Chang

chapter 15|16 pages

Biodiversity and conservation

ByVu Hai Dang

chapter 16|27 pages

The South China Sea environment

The need for formalised institutional interaction between science, policy and law
ByDavid M. Ong

part Part V|90 pages

Cooperation and institutions

chapter 17|13 pages

Semi-enclosed seas cooperation under UNCLOS

BySeokwoo Lee, Lowell Bautista

chapter 18|21 pages

ASEAN and the South China Sea

ByRobert Beckman, Vu Hai Dang

chapter 19|19 pages

From DOC to COC

A regional rules-based order
ByRamses Amer, Li Jianwei

chapter 20|16 pages

Mainland China-Taiwan interplay in the South China Sea

ByFu-Kuo Liu

chapter 21|19 pages

Cooperation through Track II mechanisms

ByRommel C. Banlaoi

part Part VI|75 pages

Challenges and prospects

chapter 22|13 pages

Dispute settlement mechanisms for South China Sea issues

ByJ. Ashley Roach

chapter 23|28 pages

The South China Sea arbitration and its implications 1

ByChristopher Whomersley

chapter 24|14 pages

US-China rivalry in the South China Sea

ByMingjiang Li, Archana Atmakuri

chapter 25|18 pages

Struggles for prestige and power, 960–2020

ByC. J. Jenner