News of the rising tension in the South China Sea is making virtually every citizen in the area a bit edgy. The potential of a full-blown war is looming, unless the parties involved can come up with a peaceful resolution to the Spratly Islands dispute.
China’s bullying of smaller countries laying claim to parts of the highly contested archipelago is not surprising. China, as the most powerful of the lot, could have exercised prudence, but perhaps it has grown tired of waiting for something to happen. If China were confident of its claim on the islands then why is it acting in such an insecure manner? China claims that they have been occupying the islands as early as 200 BC. At that time, the other parties in the dispute had not yet discovered seafaring.
However, the other states, including the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei, which are laying claim to the Spratlys contend that, based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, of which the disputing states are signatories, the islands fall within 200 nautical miles of their shores and are therefore part of their jurisdiction.
Whatever the argument may be, if no one concedes, no agreement will be reached and the conflict will continue to escalate. This means that none of the claiming countries will be able to exploit the resources, which are the basis for the dispute, and the very reason why none of the parties is yielding.
But come on, are we talking about these countries’ interests or the interests of a few of their people? Why can’t this issue be peacefully resolved? Why can’t they be content with the territories that have been claimed and be done with it? Why do they have to claim everything? The leaders of these countries should realize that if this issue won’t be resolved then no economic development in the area would happen, and not one of the contending states would benefit from the islands’ resources. Is it possible for them to just divide the islands equally? Perhaps that is the solution to this problem.
The leaders should start to realize that resolving the issue would be in the best interests of their people.