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 firsthand the problems being faced. He knows that fishermen are the first to encounter the limits of seas, such as in the South China Sea, where overfishing has emerged as a major threat to the food security of locals. direction.
James Borton is a foreign correspondent who has covered Southeast Asia for over 30 years. He is a former Non-Resident Scholar at the Stimson Center and currently a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).