A July 2015 Research Paper for the Chatham House Asia Program by Dr Kun-Chin Lin, director of the Centre for Rising Powers and Dr Andrés Villar Gertner, research associate of the Centre at Cambridge University, argues the following -
" ... the maritime domain embodies unique risks that require different solutions from those deriving from a Westphalian notion of statehood and land-based projection of power. While there is no rolling back the naval modernization efforts of Asian powers, the United States and China in particular need to exercise statesmanship. They need to forge the requisite political will for cooperation by all parties, in order to expand strategic options beyond a reductive Cold War-esque calculus.
" We encourage Asian countries to explore a range of instruments and institutions of collective commitment, voluntary compliance and dispute resolution – from bilateral agreements on fisheries management to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – in support of shared values on sustainable development of ocean resources and freedom of navigation.
"We argue that there is no global best practice in governing maritime commons, but Asians could draw on diverse references that include the European experience with the Arctic Council.
"Asian regionalism has traditionally been weak in incorporating non-state interests. A breakthrough in maritime governance will depend on the representation of a broad constituency that encompasses trading sectors, fisheries, energy and transport industries, scientific communities, NGOs, think-tanks, environmental activists and local communities."
The frictions and rivalries of the East and South China Seas contain historical realities and rising nationalistic and geopolitical calculations which no precedents or existing international institutions seem adequate to resolve. The Cambridge researchers' insight may offer a constructive and acceptable avenue to explore for all the parties involved in grappling with potentially mutually-damaging horns of a dilemma.