How the US should respond in the South China Sea: Build its own islands

(From The National Interest)

By Crispin Rovere

The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision places more pressure on the U.S. than China, as Washington must now act to support this emphatic judgement. Failure to do so will further weaken America’s credibility, and undermine the rules-based order it seeks to preserve.

In order to determine how the US may effectively respond, China’s strategy must be understood.

Chinese activities in Spratlys

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

In recent years a number of high profile strategists have described China’s South China Sea (SCS) encroachment as ‘salami tactics’. In The Interpreter, Derek Lundy eloquently explained what is meant by this (though none will eclipse this gem from Yes Prime Minister). Indeed, the depiction of China’s approach in the SCS as ‘salami tactics’ is now a widely accepted norm.

Nevertheless, this is contestable. In my view China is not employing salami tactics at all, but rather a wholly different strategy. This challenges a consensus, and requires a substantive explanation.

To my mind, there are three pre-conditions that need be met for a salami strategy to be employed: Read more

 



Categories: Asia Times News & Features, China, Southeast Asia

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