Geopolitics and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Geopolitics and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia

1st Edition

By Ralf Emmers


196 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Geopolitics is a crucial element in understanding international relations in East Asia, with major and medium powers competing for influence. This book examines geopolitics in East Asia, focusing in particular on its major, contentious maritime territorial disputes. It looks in particular detail at the overlapping claims between Japan, China and Taiwan over the Senkaku/Diao yu Islands in the East China Sea as well as the Paracel Islands claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and the Spratly Islands involving Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam in the South China Sea. The book offers a comparative study of the East and South China Seas by arguing that their respective circumstances are influenced by similar geopolitical considerations; factors such as territory, natural resources and power competition all impact on disputes and broader regional relations. It is precisely the interplay of these geopolitical forces that can lead to the rapid escalation of a maritime territorial dispute or reversely to a diffusion of tensions. The book considers how such disputes might be managed and resolved peacefully, despite the geopolitical conditions that can make co-operation on these issues difficult to achieve. Ralf Emmers examines the prospect for conflict management and resolution by identifying catalysts which may contribute to improving the climate of relations.


'Emmers' analysis is not only up to date but is also competently realized…" - Stein Tonnesson, PRIO, Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 32, No.1 (2010)

Table of Contents

1. The Influence of Geopolitics on Maritime Territorial Disputes 2. The Geopolitical Considerations of the East Asian Claimant States 3. The Senkaku/Diao yu Dispute 4. The Paracel and Spratly Disputes 5. Geopolitical Interplay in the East and South China Seas 6. Conflict Management and Resolution in the East and South China Sea Disputes. Conclusion

About the Author

Ralf Emmers is Associate Professor and Head of Graduate Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests are in security studies, international institutions in the Asia Pacific, and the international relations of Southeast Asia. His publications include Non-Traditional Security in the Asia-Pacific: The Dynamics of Securitization and Cooperative Security and the Balance of Power in ASEAN and the ARF (Routledge). He is co-editor of Security and International Politics in the South China Sea: Towards a Cooperative Management Regime; Order and Security in Southeast Asia: Essays in Memory of Michael Leifer (both published by Routledge) and Understanding Non-Traditional Security in Asia: Dilemmas in Securitization.

About the Series

Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series

Series editors: Leszek Buszynski and William Tow, both Australian National University


New security concerns are emerging in the Asia Pacific region as global players face challenges from rising great powers, all of which interact with confident middle powers in complicated ways. This series puts forward important new work on key security issues in the region. It embraces the roles of the major actors, their defense policies and postures and their security interaction over the key issues of the region. It includes coverage of the United States, China, Japan, Russia, the Koreas, as well as the middle powers of ASEAN and South Asia. It also covers issues relating to environmental and economic security as well as transnational actors and regional groupings.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General