On 31 August 2023, the new series "Ocean Talks: Perspectives on the South China Sea" organised by the Grassroot Think Tank POLIS180 for Foreign and European Policy started with a kick-off event at which Dr Josie-Marie Perkuhn and Dr Christian Wirth were invited as guest speakers. The online event introduced the topic of the situation in the South China Sea and discussed the global scope of the conflict situation. The South China Sea is one of the busiest trade routes in the world and almost a third of global shipping passes through it. Territorial disputes exist over a large number of islands, such as with the People's Republic of China over the Paracels and Spratley Islands or Scarborogh Reef. The security situation around Taiwan and the strait between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland also radiate into the tense situation in the South China Sea. Points of contention also result from the definition of the 12-nautical-mile zone according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The rise of China in particular has changed the strategic interest in the South China Sea, explained Dr. Perkuhn. The aim is 1) to secure and expand influence in the region, 2) to build up a countervailing power to the USA, which is considered an ally of many neighbouring states, 3) to secure the southern trade routes of the blue economic belt or the "maritime silk road", and 4) to fill in the Chinese island of Hainan. the "maritime Silk Road", and 4) the development of the Chinese island of Hainan, where the Wenchang Cosmodrome (中國文昌太空發射場) of the space programme is located.