A Balancing Institution: Delving Deeper into ASEANs Role in the South China Sea Dispute

Authors: Gonzales, Ma-Ay O., Lumbang, Rossane Stefi B., and Mendoza, Gayle Micahelle R.

Year: 2022


Since its creation in 1967, ASEAN has pushed for the preservation of its members from external powers and had been insistent on pursuing regional security. The practice of consensus has been ASEAN’s distinctive way of conflict management. With the diverse perspective of its member states, it is a challenge for the ASEAN to reach a consensus guideline in the South China Sea. This paper aims to discuss the following questions: (1) Is ASEAN significant in resolving disputes in the SCS? (2) Why does ASEAN consistently fail to act in consensus on the issue? (3) How does ASEAN deals with China regarding the issue? (4) Is ASEAN balancing against China? And lastly, (5) Can the theory of institutional realism prove that ASEAN provides significant contributions in the SCS disputes? The researchers found out that ASEAN has a passive role in the issue, but it has played a significant role by engaging in two-way balancing to prevent the occurrence of major conflicts.