This edited volume rethinks the relationship between power and law in the age of China’s rise by examining recent developments in the South China Sea (SCS).

The contributors explore different interpretations of international law on the legal status of the contested islands and rocks and provide detailed analyses of the contested concepts and provisions, the 2016 ruling by the SCS arbitration tribunal, as well as the environmental, economic, and political impacts of the ruling. This book facilitates a more meaningful and productive dialogue over the intersection, interaction, and interdependence between power and law in the context of the SCS. Assessing the interactions between political, legal, and normative forces, it provides insights into the specific dynamics of the dispute and the shifting security landscape in the region, but also offers a basis for thinking more deeply about the broader rise of China.

This book will appeal to both students and scholars of IR, International Law, and Asian Studies and those engaged in research on the SCS disputes, the rise of China, and with a theoretical interest in law and power in international affairs.

chapter |23 pages


chapter 1|21 pages

The rebalance under the Obama administration

Transformational leadership and selective engagement

chapter 2|24 pages

‘The Dialogue of East and West’

Joseph Needham revisited

chapter 3|22 pages

Sovereignty and identity

Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea

chapter 5|21 pages

Japan, China and the territorial disputes in the China Seas

The uncertain dynamics of Asian-Pacific geopolitics

chapter 6|23 pages

All at sea?

Japanese conceptions of regional order in response to the South China Sea disputes 1

chapter 7|28 pages

Whose ‘freedom of navigation’?

Australia, China, the United States, and the making of order in the ‘Indo-Pacific’ 1