Thursday, October 8, 2015

In Major Escalation, US To Sail Warships Around China's Man-Made Islands In South Pacific

"For those who may have missed it, China’s land reclamation efforts in the Spratlys have become one of the most important geopolitical stories of the year.

In an effort to project the country’s growing military prowess, the PLA navy has used a collection of dredgers to build a series of islands atop reefs in the South China Sea, and although that actually isn’t unprecedented (some of China’s neighbors have embarked on similar projects), the scope of it is, as Beijing has so far constructed some 3,000 acres of new sovereign territory.

Of course these aren’t exactly inconsequential waters. On the contrary, these are shipping lanes through which trillions in global trade run and Washington’s regional allies aren’t particularly enamored with China’s “sand castles,” which some view as an attempt to build illegal military outposts.

This all comes as the PLA has taken on a more assertive role, expanding its patrols and even showing up unexpectedly in Yemen earlier this year to evacuate civilians trapped in the country’s war-torn port city of Aden.

Well, don’t look now, but the US is set to direct its own ships to sail around Beijing’s South China Sea islands simply to prove that Washington hasn’t lost all military credibility. Here’s FT:

The US is poised to sail warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea as a signal to Beijing that Washington does not recognise Chinese territorial claims over the area..."


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