This chapter analyzes changes in the South Chins Sea (SCS) issue resulting from developments in the wider legal institutional environment of the maritime regime, at the center of which sits the new law of the sea Convention. It looks at China's policy practices in the 1980s, and explores linkages between the influence of the maritime regime, the geopolitical environment, and China's policy outcomes. The chapter summarizes the influence of the maritime regime. The SCS disputes first emerged in the 1950s as a typical territorial dispute involving two disputants: China and Vietnam. In contrast, shifting dynamics in the maritime regime problematize the maritime dispute in the SCS in three ways: what territory can be claimed; who has the right to make claims and based on what principles; and how sovereignty should be exercised or what kind of sovereign rights can be generated by ownership of a given piece of territory.