In the sphere of modern international politics, few regions have been as hotly contested as Asia, an area that President Trump now defines as the Indo-Pacific. Across the 1.5 million square mile expanse of the South China Sea, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan claim sovereign waters. China, Vietnam, and Indonesia also lay claim to the trade routes and islands of these waters. Some have deployed their own military garrisons to these remote islands and reefs, creating friction between the countries that has escalated in recent years. But no South China Sea government can take on China alone, and as China gains power in both trade and military outposts, they look to the United States for protection. This American security umbrella stretches across such a large area that the Asia-Pacific is often nicknamed the "American Lake"--and the South China Sea is its inner operational core.
BBC foreign correspondent Humphrey Hawksley has been following these maritime relations--and tensions--throughout East Asia for years. Reporting on decades of political developments, he has witnessed China's rise to become one of the world's most powerful trade entities, elbowing smaller markets out in the process. Drawing on his experience as a veteran journalist, Hawksley delivers in Asian Waters the compelling narrative of one of the most volatile trade regions in the world, and examines the potential outcomes for the region. Can America handle China's rise to power peacefully? Will Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan create a NATO-esque multi-lateral alliance? Why does China think it can even fill the role of trade superpower and how does it plan to achieve this? Asian Waters delves into these topics and more as Hawksley presents the most comprehensive analysis ever of the region.