Having missed out on the prime real estate, China is constructing its own
What do you do when all the seats are taken?
The Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia control real islands in the South China Sea. “China came very late to this party and missed out on all the good real estate,” writes the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in a report last week headlined “China’s Island Factory”. So, Beijing is creating new islands of its own.
Beijing today seeks “to dominate sea-space within the first island chain”, Wingfield-Hayes writes. That chain runs from Borneo’s coast, past Taiwan, to southern Japan. It is, in Beijing’s opinion, China’s backyard.
“But in the longer term, China wants to move beyond the Philippines and southern Japan to the ‘second island chain’. That stretches from Palau, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. … This will be a seismic shift in the Western Pacific’s balance of power.
“Now, for the first time, a new power is emerging with the will and means to challenge America’s military dominance. It is unlikely to be a smooth ride.”