“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”

-Tony Benn

The South China Sea is one of the biggest flashpoints of Asia. The sea beds contain large reserves of oil and gas that are unexplored to a great degree while the sea itself is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and China hold different yet overlapping territorial claims over the South China Sea. China claims its 2,000 km territory with a nine-dash line claiming that before the 1930s, no country questioned China’s sovereignty over those waters and hence, they owned it. However, the aforementioned countries claim that they own some part of the waters and included islands causing tension to simmer and boil over resulting in tense standoffs between the countries.

Over the years, these countries have occupied and built militarized islands in the South China Sea to claim territory. According to the US, China is the most aggressive in their approach and calls them a “bully”. However, China states its reclamation projects are to meet its civil needs and accuses the US of causing an increase in tensions. While the Philippines brought on proceedings for a tribunal stating China cannot claim territories over historic rights, China refused to accept it and the dispute remains unsolved.