January 3, 2013

How China Plays the Island Game

Brett Shehadey, The National Interest

AP Photo

The name of the game for the Chinese in the Pacific Island disputes is Go, which also happens to be an ancient Chinese board game that involves the surrounding and capture of enemy pieces and positions. White and black stones are placed on a 19-by-19 node grid of lines. A stone is captured when it is surrounded from all sides; it is defended when the enemy is diverted. If we set the objective as the capture of islands without direct attack or invasion, we see the board-game stones replaced by surveillance vessels, fishing fleets and coast-guard frigates. Each side attempts to surround the island and claim dominion over that space by presence and patient stratagem.

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TAGGED: Diaoyu Islands, Senkaku islands, South China Sea, China

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