"First came the diplomatic offensive, then the flexing of military muscle.
Now, China is opening a third front to assert its claims in the South China Sea - moving ahead with its first major tender of oil and gas blocks in disputed parts of its waters...
...Beijing claims almost all the South China Sea, a body of water believed to hold rich reserves of oil and gas and which stretches from China to Indonesia and from Vietnam to the Philippines. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia claim parts of it.
Any conflict in the sea, one of the world's busiest trade routes, would have global repercussions given the $5 trillion in ship-borne trade carried on its waters each year."