China and South China Sea - Part 1

Tensions have simmered in the South China Sea for many years.

But they have escalated this year as China began to assert its long-standing offshore claims more vigorously, most recently by issuing new passports that show a map including its claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

And now, Beijing is planning to board and search ships sailing in what it considers to be its territory.

Parts of the South China Sea are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan, some of whom have already protested against China's latest moves.

India has also joined in the fray, by declaring itself ready to deploy naval vessels to the South China Sea to protect its oil-exploration interests there.

In the first of a two-part series, 938LIVE's Reeta Raman asked Associate Professor Li Mingjiang, from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, to explain why China is ratcheting up tension in the South China Sea, and what does it hope to gain by doing so?

Click here to hear it on podcast