If your new year resolution is to read more, then may I suggest these two books?
Both books touch on the topic of the South China Sea and the oil that is estimated to be around the Spratly Islands.
Asia's Cauldron (2014) by Robert D. Kaplan
Resource Wars (2002) by Michael T. Klare
Currently, Malaysia plays both the US and China against each other, but China is determined to seize control of the region.
The Chinese are hungry for power and success and perhaps Xi Jinping is just the leader that they need right now.