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John B. Welfield and Le Thuy Trang

security and development of the Indo-Pacific. This sea offers the shortest route from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. About half of the world’s commerce, half of global liquefied natural gas and a third of global crude oil transit through this body of water each year.5 Two-fifths of the world’s tuna are born in the South China Sea, contributing to a multibillion-dollar fisheries industry.6 These statistics, oft-cited, are just a few indicators of the South China Sea’s importance to the region and the world at large. A durable regional security system that can

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Building a Normative Order in the South China Sea

Evolving Disputes, Expanding Options

Edited by Truong T. Tran, John B. Welfield and Thuy T. Le

The South China Sea, where a number of great powers and regional players contend for influence, has emerged as one of the most potentially explosive regions in the world today. What can be done to reduce the possibility of conflict, solve the outstanding territorial problems, and harness the potential of the sea to promote regional development, environmental sustainability and security? This book, with contributions from leading authorities in China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Singapore and the United States, seeks to illuminate these questions.
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Tran Truong Thuy

offshore as possible. Furthermore, he argues, China wants to carve out a protected area for its missile carrying submarines (SSBNs) as a basis for a second strike nuclear capability against the US. It is in this context that strategic competition among the major countries in the region has become more acute. In their wide-ranging chapter, Wu Xiangning and You Ji (Chapter 3 in this volume) explore the competition among different interest groups within China as a driver for increasing tension in the South China Sea. The role of Chinese law enforcement forces in the Sea has