International Studies Capstone Research Papers

Document Type

Capstone Project

Program of Study

International Studies

Presentation Date

Spring 4-24-2015


Spratly Islands, China, the Philippines, Bilateral Defense Policy, Mischief Reef, Scarborough Shoal


This research paper examines how China’s encroachment of the Spratly Islands has forced the Philippines to increase their dependency on bilateral defense agreements with the United States. Beginning with the significance of the Asia – Pacific in the 21st century and its key waterway, the South China Sea, this paper examines the Spratly Island dispute beginning in 1995 and continuing to present. Both China’s actions in claiming territory and the Philippines’ strategy of intensifying their ties with the U.S. are detailed throughout. The Philippines have found it essential to take such actions as Chinese aggression has increased since 1995, despite appeals to international laws and norms. In conclusion, the research suggests that the South China Sea will continue to be the definitive body of water in the 21st century; the Philippines success or failure in stemming Chinese expansion into the Spratly Islands will serve as model for the future of the Asian seascape.


Dr. Frank Jenista

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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