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Scientific cooperation can cut through South China Sea deadlock

Joint efforts needed to save fish stocks and coral reefs from destruction

| Southeast Asia
A bed of dead coral in the South China Sea: Reefs are dying.   © Reuters

James Borton is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the author of "Dispatches from the South China Sea: Navigating to Common Ground."

Below the surface of rising tensions and mistrust besetting the South China Sea, an ecological crisis is brewing. Fledgling regional efforts to address the area's environmental problems, however, are showing promise, creating frameworks for cooperation that could provide an escape route from military confrontation.

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