The bargaining dilemma between the United States and China in the South China Sea

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Feng, Hui
He, Kai
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Feng, Huiyun

He, Kai

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2018
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Abstract

This chapter examines the dynamics of the strategic competition between the United States and China over the South China Sea (SCS) in recent years. We suggest a “bargaining dilemma” argument to offer a new explanation that will shed some light on the US–China competition in the SCS. We argue that the simmering tension between the US and China in the SCS reflects an unsettled bargaining game between a rising power and the existing hegemon for power and dominance in the region. The bargaining strategies of the two states in addressing their information and commitment problems will shape the success or the failure of the negotiations between the United States and China in the SCS. While multilateral institutions might be helpful, the future of the SCS will largely depend on the wisdom of policy makers in both countries in finding a balance between skillful compromise and hard bargaining.

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US-China Competition and the South China Sea Disputes

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FT160100355

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Political science

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