Sahara: a desert, an out of control area and new borders.

The South China Sea dispute: a question of territory or sea bed ressources?

The South China Sea dispute: A new flashpoint in the making?

Even though the territorial disputes in the South China Sea is nothing new, the recent confrontations among China, the Philippines, and Vietnam have sparked global concerns. It is being feared that the region is becoming a new flashpoint with serious security consequences. Six countries have made territorial claims over the South China Sea or its two major archipelagos-Spratly and Paracel.1 Many of the so-called “islands” are merely rocky outcroppings or coral reefs that are underwater at high tide, but their strategic and economic importance reach far beyond their actual size. Some 25 percent of the world’s shipping passes through the waters of the South China Sea. Moreover, there is the possibility that the area contains huge amount of oil and gas resources. A Chinese report in 1989 estimated that the area contains more than 100 billion barrels of oil. Since the 1970s, the sovereign disputes over the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos have generated a number of armed conflicts in the South China Sea.

Pakistan’s President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in the Capital on Sunday.

Nuclear-armed foes Pakistan, India talk peace over lunch

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood together in New Delhi on Sunday, adding weight to peace efforts by the nuclear-armed foes with the first visit by a Pakistani head of state to India in seven years.

Relations have warmed since Pakistan promised its neighbour most favoured nation trade status last year, although a $10 million bounty offered by Washington for a Pakistani Islamist blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai has stirred old grievances.