April 23, 2012

How China Gets Its Way

Holmes & Yoshihara, The National Interest

AP Photo

A seemingly quixotic impasse between Philippine and Chinese ships played out this week at Scarborough Shoal, 120-odd miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon. We say “seemingly” because it makes eminently good sense for China to dispatch lightly armed—or even unarmed—noncombat vessels to uphold its territorial claims in the South China Sea. That's what happened at Scarborough Shoal, where no Chinese warships got involved. Beijing's muted approach conforms to its pattern of calibrating deployments of force to the circumstances while holding overwhelming military might in reserve to deter or compel recalcitrant Southeast Asian states.

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TAGGED: China, South China Sea

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