Small maritime rocks and islands no longer go ignored by major powers. “From the melting and resource-rich Arctic to the eastern Mediterranean, the South Atlantic to the East China Sea, legal wrangling, diplomatic posturing and military saber rattling are all on the rise,” reports Peter Apps for Reuters. With growing demand for fish and energy, accessible with new technologies, tiny geographic details are becoming a point of contention. The disagreements can fuel tensions, regional conflicts, arms races and shifting alliances. “The irony, resorts experts say, is that for companies to be willing to exploit the riches under the sea they will almost invariably require disputes resolved and conflict risks gone,” Apps reports. Other countries find it difficult to remain neutral and are expected to take sides. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a mechanism for settling the disputes. The US never signed on to the law, but tends to follow it. Analysts warn that protests or standoffs at sea could trigger unnecessary and costly conflict. – YaleGlobal
Desperate to claim energy, fish and other resources, countries all over the world increasingly quarrel over tiny islands, rocks and other land holdings
Reuters, 3 October 2012
Peter Apps is political risk correspondent for Reuters.
Rights:©2012 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.