Some analysts argue that China’s new artificial land formations in the South China Sea are not worth worrying about as they could be easily “taken out” if war broke out. But those who take that view are failing to see how these islands fit into China’s slow motion strategy to achieve regional hegemony in the Asia-Pacific.
Since the United States and others throughout the region seek to maximize cooperation with a reemerging China while minimizing conflict, we are caught between a rock and a hard place with respect to brash acts of forcefulness such as the creation of artificial islands. China is well on its way to doubling the preexisting land mass in the South China Sea, seeking to make its ambiguous nine-dashed line claim to most of the sea—– which, in its most expansive forms, the U.S. government has stated has no basis in international law—a de facto reality.
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