Freeman Report July-August 2011 - Vol.11, No.7-8

Tensions have been on the rise in the South China Sea since 2009, although they seem to have gradually subsided more recently. These tensions are caused by the interaction of multiple factors, including the submission of continental shelf claims to the UnitedNations (UN), regional states’ diplomatic ambitions, claimant states’ growing interest in the South China Sea’s energy resources, and stronger maritime law enforcement measures by relevant claimant states, China’s in particular. Other factors are structural, such as regional states’ increasing anxiety over China’s rising military power and the intense strategic maneuvering between China and other major regional powers, most notably the United States.