Tuesday, April 7, 2015 | 5:30 PM EDT - 7:00 PM EDT

Cleary Gottlieb |, New York, NY

China’s rise has changed the global balance of power, and one place to feel the strain is in Beijing’s back yard: the South China Sea.  For decades tensions have smoldered in the region, but today the threat of a direct confrontation among superpowers grows ever more likely. Bill Hayton, a journalist with extensive experience in the region, examined the quality of the evidence behind the claims to the South China Sea at a National Committee event on April 7, 2015 in New York City.  These claims originated in debates in the 1930s; the claims have been repeated ever since without consideration of their basis in fact. The high stakes involve regional rivals including India, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China, as well as the United States, Russia and others.

Bill Hayton

Bill Hayton is the author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, published by Yale University Press in October 2014 and named one of The Economist’s top books of the year. His previous book, Vietnam: Rising Dragon, was published by Yale in 2010. He has worked for the BBC since 1998, including a posting as the BBC reporter in Vietnam in 2006-07 and a secondment to the state broadcaster in Myanmar in 2013-14 to assist with media reform. He currently works for BBC World News TV in London and has also contributed to the South China Morning Post, National Interest and The Diplomat, among other publications.

He has a BA and MA in geography from the University of Cambridge.