Territorial disputes pose the greatest potential danger to the world. They are the most acute topics relating to the vital interests of states.
In the 90 years of the last century, the most tense became the contradictions associated with disputes over the issues of the uninhabited and undeveloped island territories belonging to a small area in Asia-Pacific region. This is fraught with the emergence of armed conflicts as a radical way to solve territorial problems.
There are three similar conflict zones in the region. The most large-scale is the conflict zone in the South China Sea. Geostrategically, the importance of this sea is determined by the fact that along with the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea in the west and the Taiwan Strait in the east, it is the main navigable route that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean. There are sea routes from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia to the Far East and to America. About 80% of oil the Asia-Pacific region is transported through these areas from the Persian Gulf to the United States of America, Japan and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Another actual subject of territorial disagreements in the South China Sea is the large reserves of oil, gas and mineral resources in the island and shelf zones. In addition, these waters are rich in fish and other valuable seafood.
The objects of the dispute in the South China Sea are the three archipelagos (Paracel Islands, Spratly and Pratas Islands), Macclesfield Bank and a number of small island formations. At present, the main dispute is about the ownership of the Spratly archipelago, since China has control over the rest of the island groups. A distinctive feature of the territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands is that six countries - Brunei, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan - apply for them in whole or in part. This archipelago includes over 100 small islands, reefs and atolls scattered in the vast area of the southwestern part of the South China Sea, which extends from south-west to north-east over 1000 km. The second conflict zone developed in the southern part of the East China Sea with respect to the Senkaku Islands. The Senkaku Archipelago is a group of small uninhabited islands and reefs with a total area of 6.32 km2, located about 200 km east of the island of Taiwan. These islands are controlled by the Japanese side. The other side, claiming these islands, is China.
The third conflict zone of territorial disagreement is the Takeshima Island. These disputed territories are two islands with a total area of just over 196 km2 surrounded by a dozen granite rocks 92 km southeast of Ulleungdo Island. Actual control over the islands is maintained by the South Korean side.
The main reason for territorial disagreements about the ownership of the Takeshima islands (as well as the Senkaku islands) is that their territorial affiliation was not legally fixed after the Second World War.
In addition, Japan presents persistent territorial claims to Russia regarding the group of Kuril Islands with a total area of 8.6 thousand km2, which became part of the USSR following the Second World War.
The islands are necessary for Russia not so much because of territorial considerations, but for maintaining the country's defense capability: all the straits from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Pacific pass through the Kuril Islands. The loss of at least part of the territories will significantly reduce the effectiveness of defense in the Far East. In addition, there are about 1.6 billion tons of hydrocarbons in the shelf of the South Kuril Islands.
In recent decades, a number of border armed conflicts have already taken place in the region and now there are about two dozen hotbeds of tension.