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War in Volatile South China Sea Highly Unlikely

Despite the fact that 7 countries currently lay claim to the 3,500,000 square kilometer patch of ocean, the dispute over territory has been going on for over 40 years and doesn’t seem like it will come to a head now, experts say.

China has, of late, been militarizing some of the islands, setting up airstrips and missile sites, claiming it’s for defensive purposes. Even so, analysts believe something drastic would have to happen to lead to war.

As Sean King of Park Strategies put it, “I only think there would be a war if Vietnam or the Philippines tried retaking territory already seized by Beijing. I think a de facto code of conduct is evolving, most easily shaped by Beijing.”

As they see it, China and the other nations’ actions are little more than posturing, and they are all too dependent on each other economically to risk open war.

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