Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.UK General Election BBC Exit Polls Forecast Accuracy - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK General Election 2017 Seats Final Forecast, Labour, Conservative Lib-Dem, SNP - Nadeem_Walayat
3.UK General Election 2017 Forecast: Conservative 358, Labour 212 Seats - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Theresa May to Resign, Fatal Error Was to Believe Worthless Opinion Polls! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.UK House Prices Forecast General Election 2017 Conservative Seats Result - Nadeem_Walayat
6.The Stock Market Crash of 2017 That Never Was But Could it Still Come to Pass? - Sol_Palha
7.[TRADE ALERT] Write This Gold Stock Ticker Down Now - WallStreetNation
8.UK General Election Results Map 2017 vs 2015 vs Opinion Polls - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Orphaned Poisoned Waters,Severe Chronic Water Shortage Imminent - Richard_Mills
10.How The Smart Money Is Playing The Lithium Boom - OilPrice_Com
Last 7 days
Gold and Silver Ongoing Consolidation May End Soon - 24th Jun 17
Dollar May Become “Local Currency of the U.S.” Only - 24th Jun 17
Sheffield Great Flood of 2007, 10 Years On - Unique Timeline of What Happened - 24th Jun 17
US Stock Market Correction Could be Underway - 24th Jun 17
Proof That This Economic Recovery Narrative is False - 24th Jun 17
Best Cash ISA for Soaring Inflation, Kent Reliance Illustrates the Great ISA Rip Off - 24th Jun 17
Gold Summer Doldrums - 23rd Jun 17
Hedgers Net Short the Euro, US Market Rotates; 2 Horsemen Set to Ride? - 23rd Jun 17
Nether Edge By Election Result: Labour Win Sheffield City Council Seat by 132 Votes - 23rd Jun 17
Grenfell Fire: 600 of 4000 Tower Blocks Ticking Time Bomb Death Traps! - 22nd Jun 17
Car Sales About To Go Over The Cliff - 22nd Jun 17
LOG 0.786 support in CRUDE OIL and COCOA - 22nd Jun 17
More Stock Market Fluctuations Along New Record Highs - 22nd Jun 17
Understanding true money, Pound Sterling must make another historic low, Euro and Gold outlook! - 22nd Jun 17
Green Party Could Control Sheffield City Council Balance of Power Local Election 2018 - 22nd Jun 17
Ratio Combo Charts : Hidden Clues to the Gold Market Puzzle - 22nd Jun 17
Steem Hard Forks & Now People Are Making Even More Money On Blockchain Steemit - 22nd Jun 17
4 Steps for Comparing Binary Options Providers - 22nd Jun 17
Nether Edge & Sharrow By-Election, Will Labour Lose Safe Council Seat, Sheffield? - 21st Jun 17
Stock Market SPX Making New Lows - 21st Jun 17
Your Future Wealth Depends on what You Decide to Keep and Invest in Now - 21st Jun 17
Either Bitcoin Will Fail OR Bitcoin Is A Government Invention Meant To Enslave... - 21st Jun 17
Strength in Gold and Silver Mining Stocks and Its Implications - 21st Jun 17
Inflation is No Longer in Stealth Mode - 21st Jun 17
CRUDE OIL UPDATE- “0.30 risk is cheap for changing implication!” - 20th Jun 17
Crude Oil Verifies Price Breakdown – Or Is It Something More? - 20th Jun 17
Trump Backs ISIS As He Pushes US Onto Brink of World War III With Russia - 20th Jun 17
Most Popular Auto Trading Tools for trading with Stock Markets - 20th Jun 17
GDXJ Gold Stocks Massacre: The Aftermath - 20th Jun 17
Why Walkers Crisps Pay Packet Promotion is RUBBISH! - 20th Jun 17
7 Signs You Should Add Gold To Your Portfolio Now - 19th Jun 17
US Bonds and Related Market Indicators - 19th Jun 17
Wireless Wars: The Billion Dollar Tech Boom No One Is Talking About - 19th Jun 17
Amey Playing Cat and Mouse Game with Sheffield Residents and Tree Campaigners - 19th Jun 17
Positive Stock Market Expectations, But Will Uptrend Continue? - 19th Jun 17
Gold Proprietary Cycle Indicator Remains Down - 19th Jun 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The MRI 3D Report

3 Maps That Explain China’s Real Goal In The South China Sea

Politics / China US Conflict Mar 31, 2017 - 06:10 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Politics

There’s been a lot of media hype over China’s ongoing military buildup in the South China Sea. But as always, the truth lies beyond the headlines.

Chinese action has so far been largely contained to two island groups: the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands.


It’s true that China has indeed been building largely on these island groups—constructing harbors, runways, helipads, and radar facilities, and installing missile defense systems.

However, these facilities are defensive in nature. They are meant to extend China's reach further past its coastline.

The Basis of Chinese Claims

China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea are based on the Chinese nine-dash line.

Beijing uses the nine-dash line to claim sovereignty over around 90% of the contested waters in the South China Sea. This area extends as far as 1,243 miles away from the Chinese mainland.

China argues that the nine-dash line represents historic maritime agreements, but all involved (except China) have disputed this.

China’s Presence in the Spratly Islands

China has reclaimed an extensive area in the Spratly Islands. A 2016 report from the Pentagon shows that China had built 3,200 acres of artificial reefs in the island chain by the end of 2015.

Though the Spratly Islands contain many reefs, China’s interests are concentrated on seven.

The three large reefs—Mischief, Subi, and Fiery Cross—are similar in that they all have large anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapons systems.

Each features helipads, long runways, and hangars capable of holding up to 24 fighter jets and several larger planes (including the largest in the Chinese fleet).

Fiery Cross Reef has a harbor at which China’s largest naval vessels can dock. The construction of similar harbors is ongoing at Mischief and Subi reefs.

The four smaller reefs—Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron—each contain structures thought to be radar towers and helipads.

A Defensive Build-Up in the Paracel Islands

The Paracel Islands give the Chinese another defensive outpost. Eight of the islands currently have some form of Chinese presence, with six containing at least radar capabilities.

Woody Island in the northeast of the island chain has perhaps the largest presence of Chinese military in the South China Sea.

In addition to 1,400 military personnel, it also has an airstrip that can support fighter jets, up to 20 aircraft hangars, helipads, radar facilities, and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) with a range of 124 miles.

Woody Island has been designated the official administrative capital of the region containing the island chains that China claims as its territory (Paracel, Spratly, and the area encompassing Scarborough Shoal).

In late 2016, the Chinese government attempted to take its presence on Woody Island further with daily chartered civilian flights to the island.

Putting civilians on the island bolsters China's sovereignty claim. It also increases the risk of civilian injuries in the event of an attack and so has a deterrent effect.

Scarborough Shoal: The Origin of Philippine-Chinese Tensions

While it currently has no military installations, Scarborough Shoal has been a point of tension in Philippine-Chinese relations.

Looking at the first map above, you can see why: Scarborough Shoal is located off the Philippines’s west coast, only 220 miles from Manila.

Scarborough Shoal was in the headlines earlier this month as China announced plans to install “environmental monitoring stations” there. This set off a chain of reactions in the Philippines as people considered it Chinese aggression.

Conclusion

Diplomatic spats between China and the other claimants in the South China Sea are just spats for now. China is building up military camps on the contested reefs, but those are mainly defensive.

Like all Chinese moves in the South China Sea, it is just a bluff meant to make China look bigger and scarier than it actually is.

Grab George Friedman's Exclusive eBook, The World Explained in Maps

The World Explained in Maps reveals the panorama of geopolitical landscapes influencing today's governments and global financial systems. Don't miss this chance to prepare for the year ahead with the straight facts about every major country’s and region's current geopolitical climate. You won't find political rhetoric or media hype here.

The World Explained in Maps is an essential guide for every investor as 2017 takes shape. Get your copy now—free!

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2017 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife