According to a report via the Wall Street Journal, China has built a lot of infrastructure in the past year on the now-famous artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. The infrastructure includes radar installations and underground tunnels. China started constructing 7 artificial islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea since 2014, thus raising deep concern in the United States but also in much of Asia that Beijing may use the heavy militarized artificial islands for enforcing its claims to all South China Sea, which makes for one of the world’s most congested shipping routes.
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative which released the images, China continued to expand outposts in the Paracel Islands until mid-2017 after completed land reclamation in the Spratlys in early 2016.
No country has EVER claimed a sea as its border in non-wartime. China lost their fake claim to this imaginary 9-dash line in international court, ignored the ruling, then ironically preaches about regional stability. The size of this area is equal to the Gulf of Mexico…it’s a blatant act of aggressive expansion that the West can’t and won’t allow..
This is part of a multipronged assault to drive the US freedom of seas policy over the cliff and terminate US alliances and cooperation with governments such as the Phillipines, Japan, india, Vietnam etc. North Korea is an important Chinese piece in this drama. It is the surrogate threat to the current US allies and ‘friends’ in the area which the Democrats will assure we do not really challenge. The Japanese opposition is already gaining momentum to move away from its US alliance. Now, Obama didn’t need to collude with the Chinese. He just gave it to them.
Currently the United States has more than 70 new warships under construction or in planning and pre-production procurement. But, a show of force will not be enough to remove the Chinese bases. It will take diplomatic and economic power as well as coordination with our allies to make China back down. Right now the Chinese are winning this confrontation. They have achieved the goal of backing down the United States without firing a shot. The U.S. knows how to play this game too. All we need is the political will and leadership to change the outcome. So far we’re sadly lacking.
Photo Credit: CSIS/AMTI/DIGITALGLOBE