U.S.-China Strategic Competition in South and East China Seas: Background and Issues for Congress [Updated November 25, 2020] [open pdf - 2MB]
From the Introduction: "This report provides background information and issues for Congress regarding U.S.-China strategic competition in the South China Sea (SCS) and East China Sea (ECS). In an international security environment described as one of renewed great power competition, the South China Sea (SCS) has emerged as an arena of U.S.-China strategic competition. U.S.-China strategic competition in the SCS forms an element of the Trump Administration's more confrontational overall approach toward China, and of the Administration's efforts for promoting its construct for the Indo-Pacific region, called the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). China's actions in the SCS in recent years have heightened concerns among U.S. observers that China is gaining effective control of the SCS, an area of strategic, political, and economic importance to the United States and its allies and partners. Actions by China's maritime forces at the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (ECS) are another concern for U.S. observers. Chinese domination of China's near-seas region could substantially affect U.S. strategic, political, and economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere. The issue for Congress is whether the Trump Administration's strategy for competing strategically with China in the SCS and ECS is appropriate and correctly resourced, and whether Congress should approve, reject, or modify the strategy, the level of resources for implementing it, or both. Decisions that Congress makes on these issues could substantially affect U.S. strategic, political, and economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere."
CRS Report for Congress, R42784
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/