chapter  10
Natural resources and inter-state cooperation and competition in the South China Sea 1
ByRalf Emmers
Pages 12

This chapter explores the prospect for joint development agreement (JDAs) in the South China Sea and asks whether the joint management of natural resources in the absence of a negotiated maritime delimitation constitutes a feasible strategy to de-escalate the maritime sovereignty disputes. Declining fish stocks in disputed East Asian waters have led to a further overexploitation of fisheries rather than the joint management of marine resources. Economic interests have influenced the South China Sea disputes. The semi-enclosed sea is economically important due to its fishing and hydrocarbon resources. Long-term fishing productivity in the South China Sea is declining due to over-fishing, coral reef damage and growing coastal pollution. Guaranteeing access to hydrocarbon resources remains a source of concern for Manila. Yet, wider geopolitical considerations have transformed the dynamics of the South China Sea disputes and once again confirmed the resource question as a source of inter-state competition rather than cooperation.