South China Sea has been one of the most strategic issues to confront Asia at least since World War I. When Alfred Mahan spoke glowingly of the importance of sea power, the American forces went from their half way station in Hawaii Islands to the Philippines. When Mao Tse Tung wanted to cement China's relationship with Vietnam, in the name of communist solidarity, he took two dashed lines from the 11 Dashed Lines to render it into the infamous Nine Dashed Line. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese forces immediately fanned out to other Asian countries through the South China Sea.
But South China Sea, curiously, has been blowing hot and cold since 1990s. Right up until 2007, China was still adamant in its belief that the aircraft carrier from Ukraine would not be refurbished. It would instead be made into a restaurant ! But bring forward to 2016, Liaoning aircraft carrier has become a central feature of the Chinese forces in the South China Sea. To the degree China knows how, it has been able to sneak up on the 7th fleet, only to surface right in front of it; drawing much ire and displeasure of the Pacific Command. But China has all the reasons to want to prove a point to the United states: we are fast catching up.
This book explains all the rudimentary and main issues affecting South China Sea. Edited by Professor Timo Kivimaki, and published under the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in 2003, it is a useful primer on how South China Sea has become a hot spot.