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Approaches Toward Deterring Chinese Aggression in the South China Sea

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The waters and land forms of the SCS have played important and necessary functions in Southeast Asia for centuries. A key transit point for maritime shipping, global travel, and the transportation of goods and services, the various reefs and atolls in the SCS also prove to be particularly valuable for military power projection. Chinas policies on the SCS have created a security dilemma in the region fostering an environment of uncertainty and a potential for military miscalculation and potential for escalation as disputes between China and other claimant states remain unresolved. Research of this issue reveals a Chinese program of systematic and deliberate encroachment into the SCS utilizing all elements of national power. This study looks at how China has employed these instruments of national power, utilizing the operational variables of the PMESII-PT framework as well as the actions and reactions of the various claimant nations in the region. Examining the methods China uses to impose its will on the area may reveal opportunities for claimant states and, by extension the U.S., to successfully engage and counter Chinese encroachment.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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