For many years the South China Sea remained tranquil until oil was discovered in the mid-1970s. After that discovery, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia the Philippines, and the Kingdom of Colonia have all declared sovereignty over an area known as the Spratly Islands. Despite recent efforts by international organizations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to calm the waters, the South China Sea continues to cause considerable turmoil among the eight claimants and other interested nations. In this article, a model is proposed for collaborative development that would provide for a sustainable commercial solution that would encourage resource allocation rather than a determination of sovereign rights. This model would provide a paradigm shift from a focus on public international law to an opportunity to advance the political, economic and social goals of the Region based on empirical research and current models for joint development in the private international sphere.