Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2019

South China Sea: World War 3 fears as disputed waters ‘on verge of collapse’ | World | News

Greg Poling, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, explained the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia rely on fishing and fishing-related industries. He said the decreasing fish stocks would “accelerate the disputes”, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) reported. His warning comes after Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte accused China of fishing within their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Mr Poling told PBS: “Amid this decades-long theory of maritime disputes between China and its neighbours those fish stocks, for now, are on the verge of collapse.

“Hundreds of thousands of people that rely on fishing or fishing related industries and millions of more that rely on the fish and other marine life for food security.

“So it doesn’t matter nearly as much in China as it does in the Philippines or Vietnam or Indonesia. And it’s also going to accelerate the disputes.

“Everybody is going to be in a race to pool the last fish from a dying sea.”

READ MORE: South China Sea: Tensions ERUPT as US sail warship near Spratly Island

The South China Sea reportedly makes up 12 percent of the total fish catch and employs more than half the fishing vessels in the world.

Mr Poling said countries have pushed fisheries into the sea to claim land.

He added: “We have a series of catastrophes piling on top of one another.

“The first is the overfishing problem because there are outstanding maritime disputes nobody can agree on whose water these are.

“There are incentives for all of the countries to keep pushing their fisheries out there as signals of sovereignty.”

China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam pushing competing claims to parts of the maritime region.

The waters are the world’s busiest trade route.

So far, the US has conducted dozens of freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.

The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.

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