Andrew Cottey’s article “Europe and China’s Sea Disputes” analyzes Europe’s approach to China’s maritime territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas.  The author argues that there are three major European approaches toward Chinese maritime disputes: “a normative approach emphasizing the resolution of disputes within the framework of international law; a power balancing approach, led by France and the United Kingdom, involving support for freedom of navigation operations and strengthened bilateral and EU ties with other Asian states; and de facto acquiescence to Chinese advances in the region” (473). The article further notes that these three approaches also follow a sequence.  That is, Europe first took the normative approach, and then turned to power balancing when the normative appeal was not effective.  Nevertheless, the author suggests that Europe has not taken a unitary stance regarding China’s territorial disputes; rather, divisions exist among European Union (EU) member states, with some members acquiescing to China.

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