Friday, August 8, 2014

China's grand plan for the South China Sea By Billy Tea

China's grand plan for the South China Sea
By Billy Tea

Whether China's decision to remove an oil exploration rig from waters hotly contested with neighboring Vietnam was motivated by bad weather, a completed mission, or rising diplomatic pressure from the United States, the move was the latest phase of Beijing's grand plan to assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea.

While US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to call for a "voluntary freeze" on all actions that could escalate disputes in the maritime area at a Southeast Asian security meeting this
weekend, Beijing has already rejected the idea, saying it will retain its right to build on structures in its claimed areas. China's nine-dash map claims over 90% of the 3.5 million square kilometer South China Sea.

There is a geo-strategic rationale rooted in realist foreign policies for Beijing's rising assertiveness in the maritime area. In order to understand the present and anticipate the future, it is essential to look beyond recent events as isolated incidents and instead look towards Beijing's long-term ambition for the highly strategic, hydrocarbon-rich sea.

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