Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Tom Farer

Second Advisor

Douglas Allen

Third Advisor

Jack Donnelly

Fourth Advisor

Ved Nanda

Fifth Advisor

Nader Hashemi


Domestic challenges, Foreign policy, Freedom of navigation, International law, South China Sea


The South China Sea dispute challenges the future development of maritime legal order and international law. China’s behavior in the South China Sea challenges widely accepted rules governing maritime jurisdiction worldwide as it tries to expand the limits of its jurisdiction. In China’s view, the Arbitral Tribunal in Philippines v. China also challenged the jurisdiction of the UNCLOS by taking a highly political issue related to sovereignty. This thesis argues that mere rhetorical rejection of China’s actions in the South China Sea will not determine the resolution of the dispute. China’s behavior will be dependent on striking the right balance between domestic and international priorities. These priorities include a combination of political stability, economic satisfaction, third-party involvement, and balance of power. This thesis examines the development of international law and its limitations in light of China’s domestic and foreign policies, justification for its behavior, and the reaction of other states.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Joshua Villanueva


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

269 pgs


International relations