China doesn’t need a big navy

Steve LeVine

The Philippines is engaged in a muscle-flexing row with China over oil drilling in the South China Sea, writes Andy Higgins at the Washington Post. So are India and Vietnam, reports Ishaan Thardoor at Time, who wonders whether war is possible between China and India.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s energy flashpoints, and it’s all about who has the rights to explore for a suspected treasure trove of undersea oil and gas. China asserts a historical claim to nearly the entirety of the South and East China seas, but faces competition from Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam (Vietnamese protestors pictured above). No one knows whether there actually is a motherlode of hydrocarbons under the seabed of this island-strewn region. But there has been sufficient evidence to create a crisis of oil envy. China’s rise as a global power is embedded in the friction.

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