Is conflict in the South China Sea on the horizon?


After President Richard Nixon in 1979 recognized the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. mainly supported China’s inclusion in the international arena. China’s development has enabled it to pursue its national interests, especially regionally.

President Barack Obama’s 2011 policy of “rebalance to Asia” reaffirmed that the U.S. has economic, diplomatic and military interests in the area.

Of major concern are China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, critical to the economies of Japan and South Korea as well as China. A third of the world’s commerce travels its sea lanes. China’s claims overlap with those of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. It is unclear whether efforts at peaceful settlement can prevail.

Michelle Mood, of Kenyon College’s International Studies department, will address the conflict in the South China Sea at the next Great Decisions discussion at noon on Friday, March 17.

Mood, a graduate of Oberlin College, has a doctorate in comparative politics, political theory and East Asian studies from Cornell University. She taught English at the China Institute of Mining and Technology in Jiangsu and East Asian politics at Providence College. She’s also done research in Sweden and at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing program in China.

Mood has taught at Kenyon since 2000. Her areas of expertise include Chinese politics, Chinese rural development, political economy of development, and globalization. Mood has been published in a variety of academic journals, including the Brown Journal of World Affairs and the Journal of Agrarian Change.

The Great Decisions series is held at the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William St., Delaware.

The topic for the March 24 discussion is “Trade and Politics,” featuring Ji Young Choi, professor of political science at Ohio Wesleyan University.

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