Preventing escalation in the South China Sea disputed waters: a comparative study of Republic of the Philippines and socialist Republic of Vietnam
Matei, Florina Cristiana
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The South China Sea is one of the maritime hot spots in the world and perhaps accounts for more clashes than other disputed waters, due to the abundancy of the natural resources that can fulfill the region’s rising demand of energy and food. Six countries currently claim some or the whole part of the South China Sea: Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, all with overlapping claims. Although the South China Sea claimant countries have clashes with each other, the close proximity of the Philippines and Vietnam to China has contributed the greatest number of clashes. The modernization of naval forces in the region, combined with the increasing frequency and seriousness of these clashes, suggests that they may escalate to the level of military conflict. However, in almost every case, the vessels involved are civilian, not military. Without coordination and control between those agencies and naval forces from each country, there is a risk that those incidents could still escalate into military conflict. This condition highlights the importance of Civil-Military Relations; in particular, effective coordination between civil and military agencies within each country, and between the civilian and military agencies of each party in the dispute.
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