EFSAS Study Paper: Territorial Disputes and Geostrategy in the South China Sea
First and foremost, the South China Sea obtains a pivotal strategic significance due to its geographical location and consequential relevance for global commerce. The South China Sea forms the natural maritime link between the economies of East and Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, ultimately connecting East and Southeast Asia to the consumer markets in the Middle East and Europe. In this context, the continuous navigability of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) in the South China Sea is vital to sustain the export-driven growth model present in most of the region. 39.5% of all Chinese and 19.1% of all Japanese trade, for instance, passes through the South China Sea.