Thursday, April 07, 2016

How Beijing’s island-building feeds into Washington’s pivot

Beijing's island-building frenzy is not going to do itself any good either, and the reason is plain: islets scattered in the vast ocean, either natural or man-made, are almost impossible to defend yet vulnerable to attacks both from the sea and the air. Supplies can also be finite and costly due to their remote locations.
Beijing's island-building in the South China Sea – 800 hectares of land has been reclaimed – is hardly a wise tactic and I suspect a substantial portion of the hefty investment has been channeled into some senior cadres' own pockets.
A major-general at the Chinese Navy's South Sea Fleet overseeing equipment development committed suicide in September 2014 and a year later his successor has been charged with corruption.
Beijing's military strategy to take hold of Taiwan is anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) but it will be foolhardy to apply the same in the South China Sea, as its own vital marine arteries through these waters for energy and import and export may be shut down by Vietnam and the Philippines on both sides.

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