From the thesis abstract: "The United States assesses the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca as vitally important to the world economy due to their location and the amount of trade that passes through the two bodies of water each year. China also believes its security and prosperity is tied to these two bodies of water. As China's power and stature in the international community has grown over the last thirty-years, it has asserted that the South China Sea is a priority issue, and created and employed a vision and strategy to control it. China continually demonstrates its economic might in the region and conducts economic statecraft to influence policy in the region. The US needs to create a policy and long-term strategy that brings to bear all the national instruments of power to counter China's rising influence in the South China Sea. The policy and strategy should incorporate establishing strong economic ties in the region, creating a South China Sea Code of Conduct, further cultivating the US-India relationship, and using lawfare to counter China. The US needs to ensure that it is ready to employ its strategy and be poised and prepared to counter the rise of China to remain relevant in the region."
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