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China

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Index
  1. China Main Page
  2. War Losses Cause China to Sign Away Sovereignty
  3. People's Republic of China Is Established
  4. China Is Condemned for Poor Treatment of Tibetans
  5. President Nixon's Visit to China Establishes New Relations
  6. Student Demonstrators Are Killed at Tiananmen Square
  7. China Becomes an Economic Power, but Continues to Suppress Personal Liberties
  8. Natural Disasters Ravage China
  9. China Hosts a Successful Olympics
  10. Space Exploration, Government Reforms, and Military Crackdowns
  11. Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands in 2012
  12. Transfer of Power
  13. Chinese Hackers Attack the New York Times
  14. Bo Xilai Sentenced to Life in Prison
  15. China Declares New Air Defense Zone
Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands in 2012

Regional tension over claims to islands and resources in the South China Sea flared throughout 2012. For centuries, China has declared sovereignty over the sea and many of its islands, including the Paracel and Spratly islands, which are rich in oil and gas reserves and fish. However, Vietnam has also laid claim to the Paracel and Spratly island chains, and the Philippines say the Spratly Islands are within their territorial claims.

While the issue has been festering for decades, China took a tougher stance in 2012, warning other nations to refrain from oil and gas exploration and placing naval vessels in the South China Sea. At the same time, Vietnam and the Philippines have been more aggressively dispatching ships—both military and civilian—to the sea. There was little hope that the nations could solve the problem diplomatically, with China saying it would only negotiate bilaterally and both Vietnam and the Philippines both insisting that the U.S. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) mediate the dispute.

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