US-China dispute in the South China Sea: a pattern or an ephemeral issue?

By Cezar C. Roedel

The sino-american geopolitical frictions in the South China Sea, (e.g. Impeccable Incident and etc.) are part of a pattern or these events are mere ephemeral issues? A response to this question is fundamental to understand what is going on there and the future of US- China relationship over the South China Sea.

The sino-american dispute is a controversy that has recently taken the agenda of many researchers and not only by the fact of involve two major world powers in a conflictive scenario, but also for being the South China Sea, the new “epicenter” of modern maritime conflicts.

The South China Sea is a geopolitically sensitive region, because it is one of the busiest sea line of communication of the world and also because of the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos have potential reserves of hydrocarbons (liquid and gas). China has claimed the entire sea, while all other countries of the region have specific complaints over that.

In my point of view there are 6 elements that generates this conflictive scenario between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea, which are:

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