Mierzejewski, Dominik, and Mateusz Chatys. “China’s Covid-19 Diplomacy and the South China Sea Dispute”. CRISEA European Policy Brief, October 2020. http://crisea.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20-10-15-policy-brief-CRISEA-Mierzejewski-Chatys-FINAL.pdf; At the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, China's diplomacy has been increasingly assertive in global politics and Southeast Asia in particular. In its policies toward ASEAN, Beijing has had to address situations in which small and medium powers involved in territorial disputes with China, placed the South China Sea (SCS) on the international agenda, were pressed by military reactions or moved to gain a possible extension of their continental shelf. China's responses have had two different faces. First, its multi-vector assertive policies, conflicting not only with ASEAN and the United States due to the militarization of the artificial islands in the South China Sea, but also with Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Japan, have demonstrated the power of the Chinese Communist Party to a domestic audience. Second, China has attempted to portray itself as a positive, even benevolent force, as its ultimate goal is to limit negative reactions to China's South China Sea claims and manage the territorial issues bilaterally, an approach termed "mask diplomacy". Nevertheless, it is at the United Nations that major battles between the parties to the SCS dispute have continued during the first half of 2020.