Opportunism in the South China Sea?

A number of recent analyses have emphasized that China is seizing pandemic-created opportunities to improve its position in the South China Sea as other countries are distracted or otherwise unable to respond.

A key implication of such claims is that absent the pandemic, China would have acted differently and perhaps with more restraint.

In a new piece for the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage, I argue that China’s actions in the South China Sea so far in 2020 reflect a continuity of its approach to assert historic rights and to challenge the exclusive rights that Malaysia and Vietnam should enjoy in their Exclusive Economic Zones.