A lot at stake in South China Sea standoff, Ciorciari tells NPR

September 12, 2012

National Public Radio quoted John D. Ciorciari about the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over islands in the South China Sea.

"I think what makes this situation particularly intractable is that China's economic and strategic interests broadly coincide in the South China Sea," Ciorciari said.

China has asserted control over most of the Sea on historical grounds, as well as its status as the predominant regional power. This is at odds with its neighbors, including the Philippines, who seek their own share of fishing rights and rich energy reserves in the Sea. Those countries, Ciorciari said, "need some time to tie China into a set of relationships that they hope will give them at least the chance of sharing the [oil and gas] proceeds through joint arrangements rather than have China exercise control over the whole of the South China Sea."

Ciorciari's 2010 book, "The Limits of Alignment: Southeast Asia and the Great Powers since 1975," investigates the power alignments of small and middle states in Southeast Asia.