New book calls for scientific cooperation in South China Sea

Posted on April 18, 2022 at 2:42 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

This must-read and eminently readable study takes readers on a journey through the seemingly intractable problems of the South China Sea to reveal how, through environmental collaboration, competing nations can embrace trust-based peacebuilding measures. and science that can help reduce the risk of conflict. .

-Carla Freeman, American Institute for Peace

In a new book DISPATCHES FROM THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: Navigating to Common Ground (Universal Publishers, $27.95), veteran foreign correspondent James Borton tells how the sustainability of the sea is threatened by the negative impact of continued coastal development, from climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, reclamation, coral destruction and overfishing, as well as demographic and political pressures from all neighboring states.

A blend of participatory research and field reporting, DISPATCHES paves the way for policy transformation and provides a foundation for the eventual resolution of some of today’s major maritime conflicts. Although the structure of a coral reef is strewn with the debris of an ongoing conflict representing one of nature’s cruelest battlefields, Borton deliberately and passionately argues that the South China Sea can become a mass of water that unifies rather than divides. “My book trusts science and examines the role of scientific cooperation and the implementation of science diplomacy in allaying the growing tensions associated with sovereignty claims in the region,” said Borton.

Borton, who has participated in several programs with marine scientists and informed policy experts, has also boarded fishing boats, traditional sampans and Vietnamese Coast Guard vessels in the disputed area to see firsthand the problems encountered. . He knows that fishermen are the first to encounter the limits of the seas, such as in the South China Sea where overfishing has emerged as a major threat to the food security of local populations.

James Borton is a foreign correspondent who has reported on Southeast Asia for over 30 years. He is a former Nonresident Scholar at the Stimson Center and is currently a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

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