G. M. LOKSHIN
Candidate of Historical Sciences
Keywords: South China Sea, territorial dispute, Paracel and Spratly Islands, China, Vietnam, ASEAN
Claims that the center of the world economy and politics in the XXI century is moving to the Asia-Pacific region have long been banal. What is often overlooked, however, is that along with such a tectonic shift, there are also problems generated by the rivalry of the world's leading powers and their coalitions. They were recalled by the International Scientific Symposium "East Sea: Cooperation for Peace and Development in the Region"* held in Hanoi at the end of 2009, in which the author of these lines also took part. For the first time, such a forum was attended by a large group of Chinese scientists, who usually avoided any international discussion of these issues.
The situation around the islands of the South China Sea (SCM), according to the general opinion of the participants of the symposium, is heating up, as evidenced by the frequent incidents involving the Chinese Navy and other states. Some speakers even compared the development of events in the region to the Berlin crisis of 1948* * And this, unfortunately, is not such a strong exaggeration.
The arms race that has begun here and the militarization of the South China Sea islands zone in the context of ongoing disputes over the ownership of them, and most importantly, their coastal shelf, leads to various incidents and armed skirmishes that can potentially escalate into a conflict. And such a conflict would be fraught with an expansion of the number of participants, an increase in the number of forces involved, not to mention the territory.
The essence of the conflict is the claims of 6 states of the region to the numerous Spratly Islands, as well as the waters of the South China Sea, and the PRC (not counting Taiwan) and Vietnam - to the Paracel Islands.
We are talking about the most important sea communications, large reserves of seafood and, most importantly, s ... Read more