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Scientific cooperation in the South China Sea: Another lever for China?

By Sophie Boisseau du Rocher

Security issues in the South China Sea are often studied, whereas analysis of scientific cooperation in those waters is rare, thinly spread and short. This paper looks at shared priorities, China's leading role in launching scientific programs, implications for the environment, and the use of scientific cooperation as a power vector.

The research space is increasingly well controlled, but that control isn’t the product of scientific cooperation. It’s the result of China leading research programs. Scientific cooperation hasn’t reduced mistrust, and common interests don’t prevail. In relations between Southeast Asia and China, the fulcrum is asymmetry. The differences in scientific cooperation noted in this paper demonstrate that asymmetry and its serious long-term consequences for neighbouring countries.