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Chinese intensify expansionism in South China Sea

(22th Feb 2016) Expansionist China is militarizing the South China Sea. The latest example: It has deployed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the Paracel chain, close to Vietnam and along some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

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Expansionist China is militarizing the South China Sea. The latest example: It has deployed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the Paracel chain, close to Vietnam and along some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. Indeed, it appears the China wants to flex its muscles even more than it already has in the region, at least in part to try to control those lanes when it wants.
Kenneth Lieberthal, a senior fellow and expert on China at the Brookings Institution, summed up the situation to The New York Times: “What China is doing is worrisome because they’re obviously increasing their capacity for surveillance and for sustaining a presence that is well beyond what they’ve had before.’’ (See more)

Mr. Liberthal asked: “Are we going to see a situation where they {the Chinese} turn targeting radar on a ship conducting a freedom of navigation mission?’’
Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that China’s provocative missile move in the Paracel Islands, as has its construction of bases on “islands’’ it has built on reefs in the South China Sea, would seem to contradict pledges by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to militarize the sea. History has shown that pledges by powerful expansionist dictatorships such as Russia and China must be treated with great skepticism.
The Chinese action has drawn more attention to the idea, increasingly discussed by officials, that China’s neighbors in the western Pacific and Southeast Asia need a military alliance modeled on NATO to protect members from what appears to be relentless Chinese expansionism.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung seemed to make indirect reference to that when he called on Feb. 15 for the U.S. to use a “stronger’’ voice against Chinese island seizures and military-related actions in the South China Sea. The region’s maritime nations, especially Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S., are particularly concerned about China’s move because of their dependence on free navigation on international shipping lanes in the region.
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