China asserts its claims and dominance deep into the Western Pacific

July 1, 2013

Chinese officials made clear that nation’s intentions to militarily dominate not only the near shore areas but most of the inhabited Western Pacific ocean as well.

First, China’s foreign minister told rival claimants to the South China Sea that their claims were “doomed.”  While this was not an overt military threat, it made clear that China does not intend to back down from its own claims – which includes areas well into what would be internationally recognized territorial waters of sovereign nations from Malaysia to Taiwan.  Included in that region are what Chinese military thinkers refer to as the”First Island Chain,” a string of islands beginning fromJava in the southwest, arcing through the Philippines, up through the Japanese home islands and all the way to the Aleutians in the northeast.  Domination of the First Island Chain is a lynchpin of Chinese geostrategic thinking.

However, Chinese strategy does not stop at the First Island Chain.  Many Chinese strategists also believe that they must dominate the Second Island Chain, a group of lesser islands in the Western Pacific that includes US territories Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.  Last week, a Chinese newspaper reported that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intends to build on the launching of its first aircraft carrier to achieve dominance of the Second Island Chain by the end of this decade.

Source:  DoD 2012 China Report

I would like to see the United States extend statehood to Guam and the Northern Marianas, to solidify US interests in the region and to make clear to the PLAN that they risk engaging a nation that, unlike the smaller nations of southeast Asia, cannot be bullied.



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