Undisputed Winners: The Benefits and Beneficiaries of the South China Sea Maritime Territorial Disputes

  • Jonathan Spangler
Part of the Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific book series (CSAP)


This chapter argues that, while states continue to vie for control of maritime territory and resources in the South China Sea, it is already clear who the real winners are. The global defense industry, comprising elements of government, private, and state-run enterprises, academia, and civil society, has benefited greatly from the developments and interactions in the region and, regardless of the outcome of the disputes, will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This analysis begins by outlining the roles of the constituents of the global defense industry as beneficiaries of the disputes. It then takes a closer look at the different forms in which the benefits are manifested. It is structured upon the premise that these benefits are both material and immaterial in nature, the former including immediate financial gains, future investment guarantees, and sub-industry creation and expansion, and the latter including securitization strategy prioritization and reduced relative risk.


Defense industry Defense spending Maritime security Maritime territorial disputes Securitization South China Sea 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Spangler
    • 1
  1. 1.South China Sea Think TankAsia-Pacific Policy Research AssociationTaipeiTaiwan

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