"China's caribbean": Competing claims by the parties - A comparison in history and law

James C. Hsiung

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The creative idea of likening China's position vis-à-vis the South China Sea (SCS) to America's position vis-à-vis the Caribbean Sea in the 19th and early 20th centuries came originally from Robert D. Kaplan. "It was," he added, "domination of the Greater Caribbean Basin that gave the United States effective control of the Western Hemisphere." I must hasten to add, though, that even until today, the U.S. control of the Caribbean remains unchallenged, unlike China's besieged leadership over the SCS region. The difference, I surmise, is due to the fact that with the sole exception of Cuba, the Caribbean is not populated by states nearly as formidable or assertive as some of the states that loom on the periphery of the SCS. One commonality, admittedly, is that states in both regions, the SCS and the Caribbean, are postcolonial creations. However, in the Caribbean, there are no likes of Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which could count on the support of the U.S. superpower in their disputes with China. The Philippines even has an alliance treaty with the United States, a feature not similarly found among the Caribbean states. None of the latter is allied with a mighty ex-regional patron comparable to the United States.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationSeries on Contemporary China
    PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co. Pte Ltd
    Number of pages34
    StatePublished - 2018

    Publication series

    NameSeries on Contemporary China
    ISSN (Print)1793-0847

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
    • Political Science and International Relations


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