The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

How China Is Slowly ‘Conquering’ the South China Sea

Summary: China’s construction of manmade islands in the South China Sea has significantly bolstered its strategic position, posing a substantial challenge to U.S. influence in the region.

-These artificial islands, built along key trade routes, are now fortified with missile batteries as part of China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy, aimed at keeping U.S. military forces at bay.

-Despite initial diplomatic attempts by the Obama administration to address the issue, China’s hold on the region has strengthened, complicating U.S. defense strategies in the event of a conflict.

Throughout Barack Obama’s first year in office, his administration’s foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific was plagued by the construction of manmade islands placed throughout the South China Sea by the People’s Republic of China. 

These artificial islands were built along key trade routes in the region and were an example of how Beijing was expanding its power base from beyond the Eurasian landmass into the maritime regions beyond. 

The move was part of China’s “Cow’s Tongue” approach to the South China Sea. 

Essentially, the Chinese government refused to recognize the legitimate, legal territorial demarcations separating ownership of the South China Seabed among the various claimants around the South China Sea – countries like Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. 

According to Chinese legal theorists and strategists, because China was illegally colonized by Western powers centuries ago, the South China Sea belonged exclusively to China, because before colonization, the South China Sea had belonged to the Chinese Empire. 

Of course, the rest of the world does not view it that way. But to shore up their claims on the region, the Chinese government decided to physically move into the region with its manmade islands. Construction of these islands could have and should have been stopped. They were a provocation by China’s government meant to test the resolve of the new American leadership. 

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


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