China’s “Nine-Dash Line” is Dangerous


As noted last week, the U.S. has lodged its objection to China’s “nine-dash-line” claim to the South China Sea. It is right to do so for two reasons.

First, in contrast to what China claims, the U.S. clearly stating its position on the conflict will reduce the chance that the U.S. and China will come to blows over the South China Sea.

From The Pacific Realist’s perch in Washington, DC, it always seemed obvious that the U.S. would not tolerate Beijing’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea, at least under the prevailing power dynamics in the region. Still, it’s easy to imagine how some in Beijing—particularly those most eager to enforce China’s gigantic claims—could come to a different conclusion on the matter. After all, Washington has stood by as the People’s Liberation Army has pushed the Philippines out of the Scarborough Shoal and continues to threaten the Second Thomas Shoal. It therefore doesn’t seem too far-fetched to believe that some in China would calculate that the U.S. will not stand up to Beijing in the South China Sea.


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