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