THERE are two main reasons why China built those artificial islands in the South China Sea and took control of Scarborough Shoal:
1. To prevent the US from using the Manila Trench to approach China’s east coast with its Ohio Class nuclear strike submarines (SSGNs) that can conduct a first nuclear strike against China. The Manila Trench is the only portion of the South China Sea deep enough to allow said first strike SSGNs to surreptitiously approach China’s east coast where majority of China’s 1.4 billion population and most of its industrial base are located.
Four Ohio Class SSGNs approaching China through the Manila Trench can drive the whole Chinese nation and civilization to extinction within hours, if not minutes. The Scarborough Shoal is in the vicinity of the Manila Trench; serving like a “gateway” for US SSGNs for a first strike on China. So it is not fish, or gas, or oil that China is interested in. It is China’s very own survival. And they are prepared to go to war on this issue; even a nuclear one.
2. To prevent the US and its allies (Japan, Australia, and India) from conducting a naval blockade of the Malacca Strait (and other nearby straits) which the US and Australia had been rehearsing biennially since 2005 called “Talisman Sabre.”
China’s oil supply from the Middle East and Africa, and its foreign trade to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and Africa passes through these straits. A naval blockade of said choke-points can force China’s economy to grind to a halt. The only way for China to remove the “Malacca Dilemma” is the artificial islands with three 3-km runways that can accommodate more combat aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles than all aircraft carriers of the US and its allies combined.
It is often said that geography is destiny; that it is immutable.
In this case, China has modified its geography because it involves its very own survival.
Even the US, with its two aircraft carrier strike groups with its complement of stealth bombers and nuclear submarines sent to enforce the Hague ruling, were forced to back off.
For the very first time, the world’s sole superpower, the most powerful military force on earth, was forced to retreat!
* The opinion of this author/s is/are his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.