Small states anticipate great powers’ needs, but great powers fail to consider smaller states’ perspectives.
The South China Sea is a major test for ASEAN’s credibility in managing regional security. Leadership on the issue is needed, even at the rhetorical level, beyond discussions on a Code of Conduct that has been marked by diplomatic delay.
Small States Thinking Like Great Powers
Small states often must anticipate the needs of great powers in order to secure their own interests on the world stage. However, great powers are not as adept at taking the concerns and worldviews of smaller states into consideration.
The Challenge for China‘s External Relations
In China, the hawks’ disregard for the security concerns of neighboring states has become a significant obstacle in managing external relations. This has particularly played out in the tensions between the Philippines and China over maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The Role of US Allies in East Asia
US allies in East Asia should manage China‘s great-power mindset and engage in the multilateral alliance network. Deepening ties with the United States is a natural response to the threats posed by China‘s tactics, but ASEAN plays a crucial role in managing regional security problems.
ASEAN and the South China Sea
The South China Sea is a test of ASEAN‘s credibility and it needs to take a leadership role in addressing this challenge, especially by referencing the 2016 International Court of Justice ruling in official statements and resolving disputes peacefully within member states.
One of the biggest obstacles to Beijing’s handling of its relationships with other countries is its failure to acknowledge and address the valid concerns and complaints of its neighboring regions.
Read original article here : : A strengthened ASEAN gives regional states options in safeguarding their interests