South China Sea

US Navy

The South China Sea, home to a wealth of oil and natural gas deposits, is the subject of numerous territorial disputes between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Beyond the natural resources in the region, there are also vital international trade routes--  about half of all oil tanker shipments cross the South China Sea-- military bases, and fisheries. China, in particular, continues to increase its military presence in the area and island-building, putting both the region and the United States on alert.

Latest in South China Sea

Water Wars

Water Wars: Disjointed Operations in the South China Sea

In the first weeks of May, U.S. vessels have been busy all over the South China Sea, drawing China’s ire and frustration. From May 2 to May 8, the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence joined ships from the Philippines, India and Japan in transiting through the South China Sea, performing formation exercises and other low-profile drills during the voyage.

Foreign Policy Essay

The End of U.S. Naval Dominance in Asia

Editor’s Note: Although the Trump administration has made much of China's rise when it comes to trade, the president should be focused more on the security implications. Robert Ross of Boston College points to the decline in U.S. naval strength in East Asia as a game-changer for the regional order. Ross argues that the Navy's forward presence is strained, while China's capabilities are growing steadily. U.S. allies are aware of this painful reality, and their willingness to trust America to protect them will decline.

Daniel Byman

Water Wars

Water Wars: Pence Accuses China of Domestic Interference and Warships Have Close-Call in South China Sea

In a speech delivered on Oct. 4, Vice President Mike Pence escalated the Trump administration’s rhetoric against China. At the Hudson Institute, Pence warned that Beijing represents the greatest strategic competitor to the United States and outlined what the U.S. sees as increased economic and political interference by China, in addition to the existing military competition.

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