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Special feature

Strategies of China’s Maritime Actors in the South China Sea

A Coordinated Plan under the Leadership of Xi Jinping?
Shinji Yamaguchi
p. 23-31


This paper aims to explore the coordination among China’s various maritime actors in the South China Sea (SCS). Since around 2009, China has reinforced its maritime territorial claims in the SCS and has taken coercive measures, including harassing other countries’ vessels and using administrative tools to expand its effective control over disputed islands. One important question is whether China’s tactics are based on a well-coordinated plan or are the unintended consequence of competition and self-interest among the various agencies. This paper shows that, firstly, organisational coordination between these agencies is improving, secondly, that the PLA has a salient role in the operation, and lastly, that the long term trend is important. The paper implies that long-term aspirations are coalescing into more concrete plans under the strong leadership of Xi Jinping.

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Bibliographical reference

Shinji Yamaguchi, « Strategies of China’s Maritime Actors in the South China Sea », China Perspectives, 2016/3 | 2016, 23-31.

Electronic reference

Shinji Yamaguchi, « Strategies of China’s Maritime Actors in the South China Sea », China Perspectives [Online], 2016/3 | 2016, Online since 01 September 2017, connection on 01 December 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Shinji Yamaguchi

Shinji Yamaguchi is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), Tokyo.NIDS, 5-1 Ichigayahoncho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8808, Japan (

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