Latest survey from the Stratfor Center for Applied Geopolitics at RANE suggests tide may be lifting science research surveys above the geopolitical fray.
The South China Sea is a unique natural laboratory for ocean research and exploration, yet it remains mired in disputed territorial claims between China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. Rather than serving as a promising gateway for oceanographic research, rising tensions and mistrust in the region pose a serious threat to geopolitical and ecological security in Southeast Asia.
It is against this background that results of a new South China Sea Maritime Survey offers recognition that there’s common ground in the contested sea. The results underscore the urgency to examine the benefits and prospects of science-led initiatives in light of the unfolding climate and ecological changes occurring in the region.
The Stratfor Center for Applied Geopolitics at RANE in collaboration with James Borton, senior fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins, surveyed scientists, analysts, and security professionals from the South China Sea claimant countries and other Indo-Pacific nations, providing a broader spectrum of both geographical and experiential perspectives.
Three key points emerged from the survey findings:
Rodger Baker, Executive Director of the Stratfor Center for Applied Geopolitics at RANE, commented on these findings, “The survey results highlight the importance of environmental factors in geopolitical relations, emphasizing the need for more effective interaction not only among international scientists, but between scientists, political analysts, and policy makers.”
“While the region’s complex geopolitical challenges obscure the adoption of science diplomacy as a panacea, the survey suggests that claimant nations should stop overfishing, illegal and unregulated fishing, and coral destruction before it's too late,” said James Borton, author of Dispatches from the South China Sea: Navigating to Common Ground.
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