"The defining strategic engagement of the 21st Century is shaping up"by Robert Fry / January 14, 2016 / Leave a comment
The Korean Peninsular has again caught global attention with what North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has claimed to be the test detonation of a hydrogen bomb. North Korea will continue to play a wildcard role in the affairs of East Asia, but it is further south, in the South and East China Seas, that what might be the defining strategic engagement of the 21st Century is shaping up. It is unusual for strategy to be prosecuted by the dumping of industrial aggregate, but that is exactly what is happening around the Spratly Islands, today. Since 2013, China has been dredging the floor of the South China Sea to create seven artificial islands that now total a surface area of over 3,000 acres amongst the Spratlys’ 600 contested rocks, shoals and islets, ownership of which is claimed by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines. A similar dispute exists with Japan over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea; taken together, these little local difficulties have the undivided attention of the Americans, for two reasons.