The Rise of China and The Division of ASEAN
International relations theorists have long been envisioning the durability of ASEAN. ASEAN members have successfully formed a strong collective identity as the result of political and functional interactions and norms internalisation amongst its members through the ‘ASEAN way’. This paper investigates the effectiveness of ASEAN’s decision-making mechanism amidst the rise of China. It explores China’s new assertiveness and its strategy to control the regional order in East Asia, in particular, over the South China Sea (SCS) territory. It further explores the SCS dispute by one ASEAN member – the Philippines – at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). This paper concludes that the outdated principles underpinning ASEAN’s internal political practices and norms are ineffective in solving issues emerging as a result of the rise of China. China’s strategy to ‘divide and rule’ ASEAN through coercion and inducement has undermined the ASEAN consensus principle by threatening the spirit of solidarity and regional unity of ASEAN members.