Defence: Why China wants to control the South China Sea

Map showing rivals claims and resources in the South China Sea
Map showing rivals claims and resources in the South China Sea

China is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, a region which is strategically key and which offers a wealth of resources to whoever controls it. GIS expert Dr Uwe Nerlich examines what is at stake in this special report.

THE South China Sea is a regional hotspot like no other. It is complex and key strategically. And it is the centre of international competition for potentially huge mineral resources.

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It is surrounded by several densely populated countries including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia with Japan and South Korea within easy reach.

The region includes three archipelagos, the Spr...

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