Conclusion and Implications
Few countries in East Asia are free from territorial disputes with their neighbors. As is the case elsewhere in the world, the territories in dispute need not cover the entire soil of a particular government in order to serve as the most persistent bone of contention. Even small, barely habitable offshore islands and rocks are capable of that role, as the energy hungry littoral states in the region all eye the potentials of oil and gas deposits in their vicinities. Most of these countries also rely on these contested areas to provide a large portion of their marine diets. As has been reported widely, the danger of conflict escalation looms particularly large during a global shortage of energy and marine resources.