Global Supply Chains at Risk in the South China Sea in 2024

In 2023, there have been numerous instances of aggressive actions by the Chinese Coast Guard against rival claimants in the disputed South China Sea. A noteworthy series of incidents involved the Chinese Coast Guard attempting to ram or using water cannons against vessels from the Philippines. These vessels were trying to resupply Filipino troops stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre. The ship, a World War Two vessel, was intentionally grounded by the Philippines Navy in 1999. It was then repurposed as a military outpost on the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

Actions by the Chinese Coast Guard, particularly those targeting the Philippines, have garnered widespread international condemnation. Responding to Chinese aggression, not only the Philippines but also Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan have consistently asserted their sovereignty and territorial rights. In September 2023, during the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit hosted by Indonesia in Jakarta, many participating nations denounced Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Concerned about potential miscalculations between Southeast Asian nations and China, rival claimants expressed the intention to finalise a non-aggression pact with China. However, it’s unlikely that a formal agreement on this pact will be reached soon. Most estimates suggest that it may not be ratified for at least three years.

In this report:

  • Global Supply Chains at Risk in the South China Sea in 2024
    • Heightened tensions in the South China Sea in 2023
  • Assessment and 2024 Forecast
    • China’s pursuit of dominance in the South China Sea
    • Alliances and agreements amidst China’s naval expansion
    • The potential impact of Chinese maritime actions in 2024
    • U.S. support for rival claimants and the risk of confrontation
global supply chains at risk in the south china sea in 2024 report mock up

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