Beijing is relentless in its pursuit of territory that it feels once was a part of the Middle Kingdom. A lack of coordination in resisting this irredentist activity is having consequences, for ignoring it merely delays – and worsens – the problem.
For example, if the law-abiding nations of the world had taken effective action in the South China Sea when China reemphasized its Nine Dash Line claims some years ago, we would not be faced with the outposts China has established on islets in the area – some replete with landing strips and associated defensive equipment.
While it is building ever more islands in the territory its claims within the South China Sea, China is not ignoring the East China Sea. Just recently, Beijing flew warplanes into both the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the Japanese ADIZ there.
China is escalating its forays into the seas around it, probing for reactions by others in the waters bearing its name. But not all Beijing’s incursions are military. Chinese fishing boats routinely violate South Korea’s waters – one fresh incident requiring Seoul’s coast guard to fire nearly 250 warning shots to move the intruding vessels out of the area.
Beijing has even taken to threatening Taipei with invasion should American warships patrol the area and visit Taiwan in a show of support for that island nation.