Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (7): 1061-1072.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003521

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Evolution of the Geo-Relations between Major Countries around the South China Sea Based on Event Data Analysis

Fei Peng1,2(), Shuqin Li1,2   

  1. 1.Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Center for Studies of Marine Economy and Sustainable Development, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China
    2.University Collaborative Institute Center of Marine Economy High-Quality Development of Liaoning Province, Dalian 116029, China
  • Received:2022-03-30 Revised:2022-06-20 Online:2022-07-05 Published:2022-07-23


At present, the Sino-US strategic game, the dispute over national sovereignty and demarcation between China and the South China Sea, and the competition for regional maritime order are intertwined, resulting in complex geo-relations in the South China Sea. Combined with hot geopolitical events during the study period, the number of news events and the Avg Tone and Goldstein Score in the GDELT database were used to depict the evolution of the geopolitical characteristics of major countries around the South China Sea and visualize the evolution of the geopolitical network structure of the study area according to events of cooperation and conflict. The following results were found: 1) During the period from 1997 to 2020, the "Pivoting to the Asia-Pacific" proposed by the United States and the end of the "South China Sea Arbitration Case" became two landmark events in the whole period, taking 2009 and 2016 as the time node, the geo-relations of the major countries around the South China Sea are divided into three stages with significant differences in characteristics. 2) In the first stage, countries maintained stable concerns, peaceful development became the main theme, and geo-relations were relatively relaxed and stable. Subsequently, the factors of stability and uneasiness changed. Geo-relations became turbulent, and a negative trend was observed. In the third stage, the relationship between countries maintained a high level of concern; however, disputes and confrontations were rife, and geo-relations urgently needed to be maintained and eased. 3) China mainly played the role of the recipient of cooperation and conflict events in the first two stages. Since the third stage, the number of cooperation events increased significantly, and the node weighted in-out degree increased significantly. In addition, China, the United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines are relatively active in the network structure, especially in the conflict-average network that has experienced the "China-US-Vietnam" to "China-Philippines-US-Vietnam" to "China-Philippines-US" small group combination process. Indonesia and Malaysia have declined regional ties with other countries, and Brunei has mainly accepted cooperation or conflict events, and its geo-relations with other countries are stable. Therefore, China should focus on two main points to deal with changes in the situation in the South China Sea. First, they should accelerate the construction of a maritime power, enhance maritime power, enhance China's ability to safeguard rights and maintain stability in the South China Sea, use strong deterrents to contain US deployment in the South China Sea, and alleviate military and security pressure on China posed by the United States in the South China Sea. The second is to actively promote maritime cooperation in the South China Sea, ensure the stable development of China's comprehensive strategic partnership with the Philippines, Vietnam, and other ASEAN countries, and use friendly cooperation to hedge unilateral action.

Key words: South China Sea, Geo-relation, time series characteristic, network structure, cooperation and conflict

CLC Number: 

  • K901.4