Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress [August 28, 2015] [open pdf - 2MB]
"China's actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), particularly since late 2013, have heightened concerns among observers that China may be seeking to dominate or gain control of its near-seas region, meaning the ECS, the SCS, and the Yellow Sea. Chinese domination over or control of this region could substantially affect U.S. strategic, political, and economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere. China is a party to multiple territorial disputes in the SCS and ECS, including, in particular, disputes over the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, and Scarborough Shoal in the SCS, and the Senkaku Islands in the ECS. China depicts its territorial claims in the SCS using the so-called map of the nine-dash line that appears to enclose an area covering roughly 90% of the SCS. Some observers characterize China's approach for asserting and defending its territorial claims in the ECS and SCS as a 'salami-slicing' strategy that employs a series of incremental actions, none of which by itself is a 'casus belli', to gradually change the status quo in China's favor."
CRS Report for Congress, R42784
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html