Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

David Siegel


China, Foreign Policy, United States, South China Sea, International Affairs


This thesis explores the complex foreign conflict occurring in the South China Sea. There are two primary theories utilized to study this conflict, realism, and liberalism. The realism study involves both offensive and defensive realism. While the study of liberalism has a strong focus on international law. These theories are then applied to how China has been constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea.

The first chapter focuses on how surrounding countries have reacted to China’s island building, particularly the Philippines. This includes an analysis of an international law case between the two countries, where the Philippines accused China of violating multiple international laws with their island creation. While the second chapter details how this conflict has impacted the relationship between China and the United States. This analysis covers both countries' perspectives on the matter and where the issue is headed in the future. Ultimately, the main argument for this thesis is that China’s actions in the South China Sea make them a regional power that is headed towards a world power status.



Rights Statement

No Known Copyright