In a rejoinder to Ji Guoxing's
article, the author emphasizes that tension related to conflicting territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea has been a crucial security issue in East Asia. Ji's
article provides a concise, frank and contemporary account of official Chinese policy, but it adds no new dimensions. However, a less strident line on the South China Sea, as proposed by Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen in August 1995, is unlikely to be seen as sufficiently reassuring from the viewpoint of other interested parties. Despite China's
superficial acquiescence in the process of dialogue and engagement with ASEAN, the author sees in Ji's
article little fundamental revision of Beijing's
attitude towards the assertion of its 'righteous claims'.
At the same time, ASEAN needs to adjust its policies in order to facilitate the resolution of the South China Sea issue. The expansion of its membership has not deepened any sense of political and security cooperation within Southeast Asia.