Potential Trouble in the South China Sea?

Powerful interests will converge and compete wherever critical resources are located, an example being the gathering international tensions in the South China Sea.  AlJazeera’s “101 East” broadcast has a report on the situation there that suggests how important this sea could be in the future.  Here are some statements worth remembering:

Around half of the world’s merchant fleets pass through [this sea] every year carrying an estimated $5 trillion worth of trade. 

The area is also believed to contain valuable oil and gas deposits.   [T]he Spratly Islands’ hydrocarbon deposits [are] valued at $26.3 trillion.  [Of course, rights to them are being disputed.] 

The latest tension is at the Scarborough Shoal, a small cluster of uninhabitable islands … [that]  has valuable resources including fishing, shipping routes and potentially enormous oil and gas deposits.  

After more than two decades of double-digit increases in defense spending, China now has the largest fleet of advanced warships, submarines and long strike aircraft in Asia.