BEIJING, China – In an article in the Want China Times that appeared on June 27, 2013, Admiral Liu Huaqing, the mastermind of China’s modern naval strategy, was quoted as saying in 1982 that it would be necessary for China to control the First and Second Island Chains by 2010 and 2020, respectively.
“The PLA Navy must be ready to challenge US domination over the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean in 2040. If China is able to dominate the Second Island Chain seven years from now, the East China Sea will become the backyard of the PLA Navy,” he said.
The First island Chain begins at the Kuril Islands, and finishes towards Borneo and the northern portion of the Philippines taking over the whole Spratly islands and Taiwan. So far China has been successful in taking some islands in the Spratly in a salami-slicing strategy.
If China is successful on its First Island Chain invasion, it will set its eyes to the Second Island Chain where the gas and deuterium-rich Benham region lies. The territory is just east of Luzon. The United Nations recently awarded the Philippines as the sole owner of the Benham Rise.
The Second Island Chain can refer to two different interpretations, but the version most commonly used refers to the island chain which is formed by the Ogasawara Islands and Volcano Islands of Japan, in addition to Mariana Islands and Guam which is United States territory.