Not so long ago a friend of mine wrote on his blog about a type of fishing which is common in the South China Sea and also happens to be incredibly destructive on coral reef ecosystems. My response was to suggest that the South China Sea is nothing but trouble and should be done away with somehow. Sadly, the sort of spell-casting powers required for that are well beyond the scope of any terrestrial wizard, at least as far as I’m aware.
The recent spat between the Philippines and China is just another example of how this one piece of water sprinkled with a few tiny islands is a catalyst for a whole world of problems. The oil and natural gas reserves, the fish, the importance of the Sea as a shipping lane from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to Europe, and the multitude of claimants all come together to mean that this is probably an issue which will never be resolved in a way which is satisfactory for all concerned. However, I would like to propose a potential solution, albeit one which is highly unlikely to be accepted: completely demilitarise the South China Sea and turn it into a massive marine reserve so no one can fish or drill for oil there. Obviously this wouldn’t be the best marine reserve possible, as it would also be one of the busiest shipping lanes on the planet, but it would stop all those countries squabbling by simply removing the thing they are arguing about. An international (possibly UN) anti-pirate force could exist there to protect the ships and keep an eye on all the countries to make sure they honour the status of the Sea.
Now I’m willing to concede that this proposal would never gain widespread acceptance, so here’s my second solution: give the whole South China Sea to the least intimidating claimant for all concerned – The Republic of Morac-Songhrati-Meads.
Simple stuff really.