Why China Cares About the South China Sea

For The Washington Post, I examine why China cares so much about its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

I do so by comparing briefly why China was able to settle so many of its land boundary disputes but so few of its offshore island disputes.

The reasons are:

  1. Offshore islands are more strategically valuable
  2. China’s position in the Spratlys has been historically weak
  3. Groups with China benefit from defending China’s claim to offshore islands
  4. At sea, no historical treaties allocating the sovereignty of islands exist
  5. China’s leaders have less room to maneuver in all territorial disputes.

Read the full piece here.