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The South China Sea is potentially one of the most dangerous international flashpoints in Asia, its territorial waters and numerous small uninhabited islands and reefs the subject of competing claims by the different littoral powers. Moreover, these conflicts have from time to time led to clashes between ships and to bloodshed and deaths. In addition, the South China Sea is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, crucial for the economies of China, Japan and Korea, and a very large fishery, on which many people depend for their livelihood and food. This book presents a comprehensive overview of the latent conflicts in the South China Sea and the measures being taken to resolve them. It outlines the importance of the South China Sea, and considers the interests of the different littoral powers, and also the interests of external powers, notably the United States. It assesses the effectiveness of the various dispute resolution initiatives to date, and concludes by discussing likely future developments.