China’s claim to the South China Sea and its islets is so extreme that it is sometimes difficult to take seriously. But we in ASEAN should not underestimate the firmness with which China is pursuing its designs on the Spratlys. Nor should we underestimate the extent of domestic support for Beijing’s chauvinistic foreign policy. We cannot discount the fact that China’s increasing assertiveness in its foreign relations has wide support inside the country.
PacNet #11 – ASEAN Must Speak with One Voice on the South China Sea
March 17, 2000