Tuesday, July 27, 2010

China and the String of Pearls

China’s foreign minister warned the United States on Sunday not to internationalise the issue of the South China Sea, where Beijing’s territorial claims conflict with other nations. China and several countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group make competing territorial claims over the resource-rich area, which is also a major source of tension between Beijing and Washington. The United States has called for unfettered access to the area that China claims as its own, and accused Beijing of adopting an increasingly aggressive stance on the high seas.  Read more at Hiram's 1555 Blog

What Is the String of Pearls?

Each “pearl” in the “String of Pearls” is a nexus of Chinese geopolitical influence or military
presence. Hainan Island, with recently upgraded military facilities, is a “pearl.” An upgraded airstrip
on Woody Island, located in the Paracel archipelago 300 nautical miles east of Vietnam, is a “pearl.” A container shipping facility in Chittagong, Bangladesh, is a “pearl.” Construction of a deep water port in Sittwe, Myanmar, is a “pearl,” as is the construction of a navy base in Gwadar, Pakistan. Port and airfield construction projects, diplomatic ties, and force modernization form the essence of China’s “String of Pearls.” The “pearls” extend from the coast of mainland China through the littorals of the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the littorals of the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. China is building strategic relationships and developing a capability to establish a forward presence along the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) that connect China to the Middle East (see Figure 1). 

For more on the subject, read String of Pearls, by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher J. Pehrson HERE.

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