27 May 2014
Rather than getting into an unproductive debate over matters of detail, this response to the critique of an earlier commentary looks more at the deleterious impact of sovereignty arguments on managing the South China Sea and its resources.
In their joint RSIS Commentary No. 099/2014 entitled Sovereignty over Paracels: Article Lets Off Beijing Lightly, Dr Huy Duong and Dr Tuan Pham criticised my viewpoint, New Tensions in the South China Sea: Whose Sovereignty over Paracels?(RSIS Commentary No 088/2014). Their criticism highlights two fundamental issues with the South China Sea disputes more generally. The first is that these disputes and their implications for maritime boundaries are complex and unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future. This factor has become the major obstacle to effective governance of the South China Sea.
The second is that strident assertions of sovereignty are unhelpful and do nothing to help establish necessary regimes for managing the sea and its resources. While this is the case, fish stocks are being over-fished, marine habitats are being destroyed, good order at sea is lacking, and there is inadequate marine scientific knowledge to provide for the development of its resources.
… Sam Bateman is a Senior Fellow in the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is a former Australian naval commodore with research interests in regimes for good order at sea.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
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