This volume takes readers beneath the surface of the South China Sea by exploring critical but under-researched issues related to the maritime territorial disputes. It draws attention to the importance of private sector, civil society, and subnational actors’ roles in the disputes and sheds light on key policy issues that are addressed less often in the literature. By going beyond mainstream analyses focused solely on issues of traditional security, resource economics, and international law, it offers a fresh and engaging look at the South China Sea disputes. The book is divided into five parts – historical foundations, enterprises, localities, people, and policy – and its chapters investigate historiography in the region, the global defense industry’s role as beneficiary of the disputes, tourism as a territorial strategy, the roles of provinces and local governments, disaster management, confidence-building measures, environmental and science diplomacy, and other topics seldom discussed in other analyses of the South China Sea disputes. The book’s diverse content and fresh perspectives make it an essential read not only for policymakers and those in the international relations community but also for all others interested in gaining a more well-rounded understanding of the many issues at stake in the South China Sea maritime territorial disputes.