South China Sea: China’s Unfolding Strategic Blueprint For Full-Spectrum Dominance – Analysis


South China Sea has emerged as an explosive regional and global flashpoint endangering the security and stability of the wider Indo Pacific region. This arises mainly from China’s propensity to use force to settle territorial disputes.

Paracel Islands under full military occupation of China and Spratlys Islands under partial military occupation of China coupled with greater maritime operational cruises in South China Sea by Chinese PLA Navy including its Aircraft Carrier are evidence of China’s unfolding strategy of expanded maritime dominance of this crucial Sea.

China has displayed no indicators to suggest conflict de-escalation or conflict-resolution in the South China Sea disputes with its ASEAN neighbours.

On the contrary, the May 2014 incidents of China placing its oil-drilling rigs in South China Sea in Vietnamese EEZ and its ongoing engineering efforts to create new ‘artificial islands’ in proximity of Philippines holdings in Spratly Islands pointedly highlight that China is unfolding a new strategic blueprint in the South China Sea in which de-escalation of conflict or conflict resolution is not on China’s agenda. China’s ‘island grabbing’ in the South China Sea now seems to be replaced by a new aggressive policy of creating ‘artificial islands’ not only for wider EEZ claims but also to be fortified to facilitate greater military control of this strategic maritime expanse.

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