Not only is the South China Sea of strategic importance; it is also rich in oil and other natural resources. As such, it is the subject of overlapping territorial disputes between several East and Southeast Asian countries as well as the scene of military tensions and potentially dangerous conflicts. Recent proof of this was the crisis in Sino-American relations in April 2001 following the mid-air collision between a US surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter over waters claimed to be Chinese by the PRC but asserted to be international by the USA. Nor has this been the only recent incident.
But disputes over the South China Sea are much more complex matters than simply issues of military security. Environmental values, economic security and political developments are also involved. Spanning the full complexity of the situation, this volume:
- covers its historical and legal background
- analyses its environmental, economic, military and political dimensions, and
- assesses the potential for containing and resolving disputes as well as transforming the structures of conflict in the region.
The book features contributions from leading scholars in South China Sea and conflict studies but is tightly edited into a coherent volume. Its comprehensive but coherent nature also makes it ideal for use as a textbook or information resource. A key work for researchers in the field, this study will also appeal to a more general readership. Not least this is a book for those interested if the prospects for peace in the region can be realized rather than the region becoming the theatre of the next global conflict.