The China Sea connects as many coastal states as it divides due to the economic and strategic challenges it represents. It also embodies an area of confrontations between the Great American and Chinese strategies. Identifying with precision the differences that arise requires an interest in the symbolic dimensions that surround them. This angle of analysis provides an opportunity to observe the functioning of international law and inevitably leads to a discussion of the emerging international order. The literature on the situation in the China Sea abounds. The paper’s singularity is to approach it under the prism of international law as revealing the psychology of an actor. To carry out this research, the authors use a pragmatic and critical approach to international law. The thesis defended shows that, contrary to a positivist and judicial approach to international law, elements exogenous to the law, the history, and the psychology of an actor, influence the interpretation of existing norms.