DISPATCH: Conflict Trends in the South China Sea

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PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 19, 2009) The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) maneuvers with the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyer Guangzhou off the coast of North Sulawesi, Indonesia, following an international fleet review that commemorated the 64th anniversary of Indonesian independence.  Fitzgerald is part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group underway supporting security and stability in the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Schoeneberg/Released)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

According to Congressional testimony, the United States has vital interests in the protection of Taiwan, international law, security of US allies, freedom of navigation, and an estimated $5 trillion of international trade that passes through the South China Sea each year.  Congressional and military leaders have expressed that China’s strategy to supplant US presence in the South China Sea and the greater South Pacific puts at risk the national security of the United States.

In this Dispatch…

  • What’s at stake in the South China Sea?
  • What are the current trends in Beijing’s build up in the South China Sea?
  • How close is China to achieving a regional military balance with the US?
  • And more…

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