New Book Calls For Science-Driven Cooperation In The South China Sea


Published Apr 18, 2022 2:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

This must-read and eminently readable study takes readers on a Voyage through the seemingly intractable problems in the South China Sea to reveal how through environmental collaboration competing nations can adopt trust and science-driven peace-building measures that can help reduce the risks of conflict.
-Carla Freeman, The United States Institute of Peace
In a new book DISPATCHES FROM THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: Navigating to Common Ground (Universal Publishers, $27.95) veteran foreign correspondent James Borton chronicles how the sea’s sustainability is being threatened by the negative impact of continuous coastal development, climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollutions, reclamations, destruction of corals and overfishing, as well as population and political pressures from all neighboring states.
A blend of participatory research and field reportage, DISPATCHES paves the way for a transformation of policy and provides a basis for the eventual resolution of some of today’s major maritime conflicts. Although the structure of a coral reef is strewn with the wreckage of ongoing conflict representing one of nature’s cruelest battlefields, Borton purposefully and passionately argues that the South China Sea can become a body of water that unifies, rather than divides. “My book places faith in science and examines the role for science cooperation and the implementation of science diplomacy to quell the rising tensions associated with sovereignty claims in the region,” Borton says.
Borton, who has participated in several programs with informed marine scientists and policy experts, has also boarded fishing boats, traditional sampans and Vietnamese Coast Guard ships in the contested area to witness first-hand the problems being faced. He knows that fishers are the first to encounter the limits of the seas, as in the South China Sea where overfishing has emerged as a major threat to food security for populations bordering the sea.
James Borton is a foreign correspondent who has been reporting on Southeast Asia for more than 30 years. He is a past non-resident fellow at the Stimson Center and is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

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