Understanding South China Sea Geopolitics

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The twenty-first century geopolitics is gradually concentrating on the maritime world with the increase in the global economic interaction in the post liberalization world. The sea lanes of communication are attracting attention with the growing emphasis on economic interactions among the emerging economies with emphasis on military strength, especially in Asia. According to some scholars the twenty-first century global power is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific world where the maritime world has historically played significant role. This growing economic interdependencies promoting economic prosperity and resultant military modernization are shaping the geopolitics of Asia today as it is found in East Asia. In this part of the world the geopolitics has been maritime in character and today they are significant with the growing importance of maritime disputes in East and South China Sea among the emerging power China and her neighbours in the region, and with special role of the USA.

South China Sea is fast emerging as a major zone of conflict in the East Asian, especially Southeast Asian, geopolitics. Although the soul of the conflict remains the centuries old territorial dispute over possession of some geographical features of this maritime zone, it is gradually transcending the periphery of inter-state territorial feud and emerging as the driving force of an Asian cold war of the twenty-first century. In this context it is important to study the South China Sea geopolitics with reference to its history. The book here is an attempt to study the South China Sea geopolitics of today with reference to its past and investigate its character. The study here does not revolve round the territorial disputes and their historical character and legality but rather attempts to focus on the larger context of traditional intermingling of regional and extra-regional actors shaping the maritime geopolitics there in the past and at present, sometimes independent of the disputes while sometimes in their context. Here reference of India is also made given her growing interest and role in the South China Sea maritime zone.

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Pentagon Press
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