The South China Sea extends from the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast. Over 500 million people in China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam live within 100 miles of its coastline.

Biodiversity and Natural Resources:
It has a remarkable amount of biological diversity, including over 30% of the world’s coral reefs and many valuable fisheries. It is also thought to contain abundant oil and natural gas, a prospect of vital interest to the energy-importing countries around the region.

Sea lines of communication:
It is one of the world’s busiest international sea-lanes with many of the world’s busiest shipping ports. Over half of the world’s oil tanker traffic and over half of the world’s merchant fleet (by tonnage) sail through its waters every year. It is a strategic maritime link between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and therefore of paramount importance to major naval powers.

Regional solutions for Regional problems:
The South China Sea is an area of growing concern over conflicting territorial claims, piracy, poaching, resource depletion, pollution, drug trafficking, illegal migration, and terrorism threats.

What are the peoples and governments around the South China Sea doing about these problems in their common resource? How will they avoid a maritime tragedy of the commons? This web site provides information and analysis for students, scholars and policy-makers interested in South China Sea regional development, environment, and security issues.

For more information, see:

Why a South China Sea Website? An Introductory Essay

Dire Straits: Maritime Security in the South China Sea, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April, 2005

Managing the Resources of the China Seas: China’s Bilateral Fisheries Agreements with Japan, South Korea, & Vietnam, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, June 2005

Maritime Security in the South China Sea: Coordinating Coastal and User State Priorities, Ocean Development and International Law, January 2008

Contested Borderlands of the South China Sea, BBC World Service, 21 April 2009.

The Political Economy of Piracy in the South China Sea, Naval War College Review, Summer 2009

Governing the South China Sea: From “Freedom of the Seas” to Ocean Enclosure Movements, Harvard Asia Quarterly,  December 2010.

Beyond the Scarborough Scare: Joint Resource Management in the South China Sea, e-International Relations, May 1, 2012

The Paradox of the South China Sea Disputes, The China Story Journal, April 2013.