The search for Flight MH370, the Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships, but it has also been bedeviled by regional rivalries.

While Malaysia has been accused of a muddled response and poor communications, China has showcased its growing military clout and reach, while some involved in the operation say other countries have dragged their feet on disclosing details that might give away sensitive defense data.

That has highlighted growing tensions in a region where the rise of China is fueling an arms race, and where several countries, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, are engaged in territorial disputes, with the control of shipping lanes, fishing and potential hydrocarbon reserves at stake.