The European Institute for Asian Studies held a workshop in Brussels, Belgium, on November 25 to introduce a book on the South China Sea (known as the East Sea in Vietnam) written by BBC reporter Bill Hayton.

The event attracted some 100 scholars from the US, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, France, and Belgium as well as European Union officials and diplomats based in Brussels.

Entitled “The South China Sea: the struggle for power in Asia”, the book explains the situation in the Sea and the tension arising from disputes between China and a number of countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

A majority of participants said the East Sea is of global importance as 90 percent of international trade is currently transported by sea, and 40 percent of that volume is shipped via these waters.

Improperly handled disputes and tensions in this region may lead to conflicts, impacting regional navigation freedom, cargo transport, and investment environment as well as the entire global economy, they added.

They also noted that the complicated situation in the East Sea was triggered by China’s coercive actions such as illegally positioning an oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone near the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, extending sites it is occupying in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, blocking Philippine boats carrying supplies to their troops stationed on Bai Co May (Second Thomas Shoal), and issuing and enforcing internal laws and regulations to assert its illegitimate claims in the East Sea.

Hayton told Vietnam News Agency correspondents that he hopes military conflicts in the waters will never happen. However, it is unlikely to have peace in this region if the disputes are not solved thoroughly.

He also said all concerned parties need to enhance dialogue and devise disagreement settlement measures so as to bring peace to all coastal countries.

The book “The South China Sea: the struggle for power in Asia” was published by Yale University Press in October 2014.

Its author, Bill Hayton, worked as the BBC reporter in Vietnam in 2006-2007. His previous book “Vietnam: rising dragon” was published by Yale in 2010 to good reviews.-VNA