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Key Things to Understand about the South China Sea Dispute as Vietnam Blocks Barbie Movie



Hot pink is currently experiencing a revolution as the world eagerly awaits the release of the highly anticipated Barbie movie this month.

The world — apart from Vietnam. The authorities in this corner of Southeast Asia have placed a ban on the commercial exhibition of this nostalgic film, starring Margot Robbie, which was supposed to hit their theaters on July 21.

Hanoi’s justification: geopolitics.

The leader of Vietnam’s Department of Cinema informed The Washington Post that the cancellation of “Barbie” screenings is due to the movie featuring a map that appears to depict China’s disputed claims over a significant portion of the South China Sea.

For decades, this resource-rich maritime region — spanning an immense 1.4 million square miles, and serving as a crucial route for around one-third of global shipping — has been a subject of contention between multiple Southeast Asian countries, Taiwan, and China. Each of them lays claim to a collection of uninhabited rocks, reefs, and islands, creating overlapping disputes. Despite some attempts at international arbitration, the South China Sea is marked by militarization and an absence of a clear resolution.

And now “Barbie” finds itself entangled in the longstanding political disputes of the region.


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