Book Review: Leszek Buszynski and Christopher B. Roberts (Eds). 2015. The South China Sea Maritime Dispute: Political, Legal and Regional Perspectives

DOI10.1177/2347797015626056
AuthorTeshu Singh
Date01 April 2016
Publication Date01 April 2016
SubjectBook Reviews
108 Book Reviews
are cases in point. The original Sanskrit stories put the phrase Vasudhaiva
Kutumbakam in the mouth of a fool, while classical treatises on diplomacy, such
as the Arthashastra, do not refer to this idea.
Vikas Kumar
Azim Premji University, India
E-mail: vikas.kumar@apu.edu.in
Leszek Buszynski and Christopher B. Roberts (Eds). 2015. The South
China Sea Maritime Dispute: Political, Legal and Regional Perspectives.
New York, NY: Routledge. 215 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-72288-9
DOI: 10.1177/2347797015626056
The South China Sea (SCS) is bordered by the world’s most rapidly industrializing
countries a nd is home to the busiest shipping lane. Today, the importance of the
region has increased manifold due to the fact that the 90 per cent of the global trade
by volume is dependent on the sea. The region provides a conduit for the global
trade. In addition, it is also a repository of valuable natural resources and unique
ecosystem.
All of these factors make the SCS dispute a significant flashpoint in the Asia-
Pacific region. The major difference between the SCS as a geographical area and
the other disputed areas whose sovereignty is contested is that there is no perma-
nent population inhabiting on any of these islands. The only group of human
population that criss-cross the SCS waters on a regular basis is the fishermen from
coastal communities. Since there is a dispute in the region, much of the area
remains unregulated.
The book The South China Sea Maritime Dispute: Political, Legal and
Regional Perspectives spreads over 11 chapters and is an endeavour to further
understand the issue, genesis of the dispute and the solution, if any.
The first three chapters of the book delve into the objective analysis of the
region. It traces the history of the region from eighteenth century onwards and
cites evidence as to how the changing historical, political assertion by different
powers over a period of time has led to the clash of interest among the claimant in
the region. The first chapter, written by Leszek Buszynski, argues that the escala-
tion of the maritime dispute has been due to the China’s increasing assertion of its
claim in the region. It points out that the British were the first one to survey the
islands and 1805 Richard Spratly published the map of the SCS (p. 3). China
started taking interest in the region only in 1930 and it was only in 1951 that
China claimed sovereignty over the region during the San Francisco Conference.
The chapter brings forth the difference between the political declaration and legal
claims of the different countries, thereby tracing the genesis of the ‘9 dash line’.
The origin of this line comes from the Chinese cartographer Hu Jinje who, in
December 1914, drew an 11 dash median line between China and the coastal

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