Construction of China’s massive artificial island bases appears to be progressing rapidly, and is likely to transform the military balance of power in the South China Sea. In an unclassified letter, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assessed that the cluster of island bases will provide China with the ability to “deploy a range of offensive and defensive military capabilities,” as well as “significant capacity to quickly project substantial offensive military power to the region.” He also stated that the facilities would likely be “completed by the end of 2016 or early 2017,” a time frame that is now upon us.
In order to maintain the ability to intervene in defense of U.S. national interests in the South China Sea at a reasonable level of risk and cost, the United States needs to rapidly develop innovative plans and tools to deal with these island bases, with timelines measured in months rather than years.
Read the full article on The National Interest.
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