Monday, June 20, 2011

Mesh of Overlapping Territorial Claims

The South China Sea is filled with romance, myth and allusion. It's also the center of dispute in international relations.

It's interesting to peruse several maps of the sea, the surrounding countries, and the competing claims. The Economist documents "a mesh of overlapping territorial claims 'which' are mounting."

"Besides a wealth of marine life, the sea is believed to be rich in oil and gas: the “next Persian Gulf” in the words of one excited observer. The countries laying claim to this bounty have all been building up their navies, notably China which this week officially confirmed long-known plans to deploy its first aircraft-carrier. To counter such advances, Vietnam has ordered six Kilo-class submarines from Russia...."Within the political spheres of influence "America is not directly involved. But it has declared a “national interest” in preserving freedom of navigation in the sea. Of the 74,000 vessels, carrying one-third of global seaborne trade, that passed through the Strait of Malacca last year, most also plied the South China Sea."

Map and Wikipedia article of South China Sea.