Skip to content

Why America Doesn’t Have to Worry About Losing the South China Sea

Who owns the high seas? The conventional answer is: no one and everyone.

Coastal states exercise sovereignty over territorial waters that normally extend 12 nautical miles from their shorelines. They also have the right to exploit undersea resources like oil and gas in exclusive economic zones that extend out 200 nautical miles. Economics rights can even be extended further to incorporate the entire continental shelf before the seabed falls off into a deep ocean basin.

These lawyerly definitions are contentious enough in their own terms, but they are next to meaningless when it comes to security strategy.

For the full text of this article, visit:

Published inAll ArticlesThe National Interest
Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: