The South China Sea: Future Source of Prosperity or Conflict in South East Asia?
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The existence of oil and gas deposits in the South China Sea and overlapping claims of sovereignty over the many mid-ocean land features and surrounding waters cause a risk of military confrontation among the claimants. It is currently unlikely that China will interfere with freedom of navigation on the strategic sea lanes of the South China Sea or attempt to force other claimant nations from the Spratlys. But neither of these possibilities can be ruled out in the longer run. ASEAN nations view the United States as the principal military deterrent to the use of force. The United States has a vital interest in keeping the South China Sea open to ships of all nations. However, settlement of conflicting sovereignty claims is a regional issue which can be peacefully resolved only by the claimants.
- Government and Political Science