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South China Sea Disputes Are Intractable, Thayer Says

South China Sea sovereignty disputes are “intractable,” worsened by China’s increased capacity to enforce claims and attempts to stop Vietnam’s efforts to form a united front, said Carlyle Thayer, a politics professor.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered to mediate between China and Japan last month after a collision of boats from the two nations sparked a war of words. Also in October, Vietnam demanded that China release a fishing vessel seized in or near disputed waters and last week protested a Chinese map’s depiction of areas in what Vietnam calls “the Eastern Sea.”