Category Archives: Southeast Asia

Tensions in the South China Sea

A fabulous multi-media report by the NY Times over geopolitical tensions in the South China over the Spratly Islands (found here). It’s titled “A Game of Shark and Minnow” and here’s the first paragraph:

“Ayungin Shoal lies 105 nautical miles from the Philippines. There’s little to commend the spot, apart from its plentiful fish and safe harbor — except that Ayungin sits at the southwestern edge of an area called Reed Bank, which is rumored to contain vast reserves of oil and natural gas. And also that it is home to a World War II-era ship called the Sierra Madre, which the Philippine government ran aground on the reef in 1999 and has since maintained as a kind of post-apocalyptic military garrison, the small detachment of Filipino troops stationed there struggling to survive extreme mental and physical desolation. Of all places, the scorched shell of the Sierra Madre has become an unlikely battleground in a geopolitical struggle that will shape the future of the South China Sea and, to some extent, the rest of the world.”


China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all claim the Spratly Islands


This handout photo taken on July 17, 2012 and released by Philippine military western command shows newly-constructed radar dome on Chinese-controlled Subi Reef, around 15 nautical miles northwest of the Philippine-controlled Pag-asa islands on the disputed Spratly islands


More Than Half the World’s Population Lives Within the Circle

In a Washington Post article titled “40 Maps That Explain the World” (which, in my mind, don’t, but nevertheless is sill work a look here) the writer posted this rather striking illustration of the Asian-centered population cluster. What do you think—is it an accurate portrayal? Here are the data from the US Census Bureau included in the circle, which when added up constitute 51.4% of the world’s population:population-map

China: 1,349,585,838

India: 1,220,800,359

Indonesia: 251,160,124

Bangladesh: 163,654,860

Japan: 127,253,075

Philippines: 105,720,644

Vietnam: 92,477,857

Thailand: 67,448,120

Burma: 55,167,330

South Korea: 48,955,203

Nepal: 30,430,267

Malaysia: 29,628,392

North Korea: 24,720,407

Taiwan: 23,299,716

Sri Lanka: 21,675,648

Cambodia: 15,205,539

Laos: 6,695,166

Mongolia: 3,226,516

Bhutan: 725,296