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It may be able to surface a sub next to a US carrier group, but its underwater fleet is too noisy to hunt enemy submarines. While it works on this problem it is deploying anti-submarine ships and is busy installing a network of underwater sensors in the East and South China Seas. Between China and the Pacific is the archipelago that Beijing calls the “first island chain.” There is also the “nine-dash line,” more recently turned into ten dashes in 2013 to include Taiwan, which China says marks its territory. This dispute over ownership of more than two hundred tiny islands and reefs is poisoning China’s relations with its neighbors. National pride means China wants to control the passageways through the chain; geopolitics dictates it has to.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
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China is building far more HYSY-like platforms than it is aircraft carriers. China, Vietnam, and the Philippines are all signatories to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, widely considered the “constitution for the seas,” yet historical claims stemming from previous wars and bilateral agreements have trumped respect for its provisions. China’s now infamous “9-dash line” map—most recently issued with ten dashed lines—depicts sovereign claims hanging downward like a tongue along the Vietnamese coast, along Borneo island, and past the Philippines to Taiwan. It would be like America claiming the entire Caribbean to Venezuela’s coast as its own—which was indeed the gist of the early twentieth-century Roosevelt corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.