Dispatches from the South China Sea

Navigating to Common Ground

by James Borton


Author website: https://jamesborton.journoportfolio.com/articles-page/
View First 25 Pages: (free download)


The impact of continuous coastal development, reclamation, destruction of corals, overfishing and increased maritime traffic places all of us on the front lines of preserving our oceans. Marine biologists, who share a common language that cuts across political, economic and social differences, recognize that the sea’s remarkable coral reefs, which provide food, jobs and protection against storms and floods, have suffered unprecedented rates of destruction in recent decades.

Dispatches from the South China Sea’s blend of participatory research and field reportage paves the way for a transformation of policy and, provides a basis for the eventual resolution of some of today’s major maritime conflicts.

From overfishing, illegal and unregulated fishing, coral reef destruction and reclamations,Dispatches from the South China Sea charts science-driven cooperation opportunities. James Borton purposefully and passionately argues that the South China Sea can become a body of water that unites, rather than divides.


See The Looming Environmental Catastrophe in the South China Sea by Murray Hiebert

This book is a self-admitted exercise in optimism sustained in the face of wide-ranging realities of the politics and ecology of the South China Sea today....(Click to read full review.) by Philip Bowring of Asia Sentinel, 2021 Dec 11th.

This must-read and eminently readable study takes readers on a voyage through the seemingly intractable problems in the South China Sea to reveal how through environmental collaboration competing nations can adopt trust and science-driven peace building measures that can help reduce the risks of conflict.
--Carla Freeman, Senior Expert China, United States Institute of Peace

The elegantly written memoir chronicles the gradual erosion of the marine biodiversity of the South China Sea, a victim of the power politics in the region.
--James Kraska, Chair and Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law, Stockton Center for International Law, US Naval War College

James Borton provides a personal and thoughtful new book about Vietnamese fishermen who are caught in the middle of sovereignty disputes and environmental security issues.
--Binh Lai (Ph.D.), Deputy-General, East Sea (South China Sea) Institute

A timely book that grapple with some of the biggest issues of our time: finding meaningful solutions to the existential planetary crisis posed by climate change and the intensifying geopolitical competition in the South China Sea. An insightful read for anyone interested in the future of the Indo-Pacific.
--Dr. Manali Kumar Editor-in-Chief 9Dashline

This is a book about hope and the future of marine biodiversity and sustainability in the South China Sea. It is a major contribution to an understudied field.
--Larry Berman, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis

Dispatches from the South China Sea is a timely and thought provoking book that explains the intricate relations and exposes the devastating environmental impacts that bring concern to all nations from in the Indo-Pacific region.
Rear Admiral Scott Sanders, United States Navy (Retired)

Borton combines his own expert knowledge of the region with a broad range of perspectives. It is an once an arresting yet hopeful book – one that ought to change how even the most informed readers think about the South China Sea.
--Dr. Peter Harris, Department of Political Science at Colorado State University, and editor of "Indo-Pacific Perspectives" section of the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs

Journalist James Borton’s elegant writing echoes Rachel Carson as he blows the whistle on a powerful environmental and human catastrophe of coral reef destruction, overfishing, illegal fishing and murder on the open sea.
--Skye Moody, author of Washed Up, The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam

Maritime protein (fish, squid, and crabs) is a critical and often overlooked element of competition and contention in the South China Sea. In bringing this to the fore, and drawing on the perspective of the fishermen and marine scientists, Borton adds an important component to our understanding of the South China Sea and management of regional tensions.
--Rodger Baker, Senior Vice President Strategic Analysis, Stratfor

In this bold, personal, and unapologetic narrative, Borton uses compelling stories from fishermen and marine scientists to offer key insights on peacebuilding through science cooperation.
--Severine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Frontlines of Peace

About the Author

James Borton is a foreign correspondent who has been reporting on Southeast Asia for over 30 years. He is a past non-resident fellow at the Stimson Center and is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). James resides in South Carolina and is a keen sailor and waterman.