This article considers the prospects for cooperation between the claimants in the South China Sea dispute. A number of reasons are provided to explain why the likelihood of resolving the dispute over territorial sovereignty is slim. Nonetheless, such disagreements need not stand in the way of managing the South China Sea dispute. In this regard, inspiration is sought in other practices in Southeast Asia where joint activities are conducted in areas where not all maritime boundaries and sovereignty disputes have been settled. These practices are (1) the management of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and (2) the Coral Triangle Initiative. The author suggests that China and the asean member states should gain first-hand information about these practices with a view to establishing comparable joint activities in the South China Sea.