In the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), China continues its “reclamation” projects on several disputed reefs which appears to be future airstrips and harbors meant to accommodate jets and warships. Aside from posing security threats to countries in Southeast Asia, these reclamation projects have also been termed as an ecological catastrophe because the reclamation destroys the reefs; agricultural and industrial run-off poisons the water; and, overfishing by Chinese fishing fleets is depleting fish stocks.
The intention is apparently to transform the West Philippine Sea into a Chinese lake by placing the whole area under the control of China’s fast expanding navy and coast guard. Geopolitical experts, however, have warned that this attempt is only part of China’s grand strategy.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) of the United States, a non-partisan, non-government national security and foreign policy think tank, just released a 2015 policy report entitled Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China. The 48-page report is too long to fully dissect in this column. However, there are some specific sections that would be of interest to the Filipino people.
According to the report, China’s grand strategy has four operational aims which it has pursued since the 1949 Communist Revolution. These are: Maintain Internal Order; Sustain High Economic Growth; Pacify the Periphery; and Cement International Status.