From Accepting to Challenging the Law of the Sea: China and the South China Sea Disputes
The international law of the sea has been a significant area of China’s engagement with an international legal order largely shaped by the West. China’s encounter with the international law of the sea progressed from bad beginnings in the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, proceeded through a phase of “regime taking” when China engaged the international law of the sea regime largely on the latter’s terms near the end of the twentieth century, and has recently entered a more complicated and less acquiescent phase. The current period, associated with China’s rise as a great power, is marked by PRC positions and behavior that are in tension with status quo rules and norms. China has maintained a stance of ostensible conformity with existing law while launching ambiguous challenges to the status quo. China is not—or, at least, not yet—fully or openly revisionist, and it may become less so if, or as, its agenda shifts in response to its growing power and expanding interests.
deLisle, Jacques, "From Accepting to Challenging the Law of the Sea: China and the South China Sea Disputes" (2016). Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law. 2421.