If you build it, do you own it? Tensions over territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea—not limited to the construction of islands capable of supporting military outposts—have been simmering for years. Only a few weeks into 2018, both China and the United States appear to have decided it is time for an escalation. The United States sent a navy destroyer near the Scarborough Shoal—the first such “Freedom of Navigation” mission in this area—and China publicly rebuked the United States for doing so, asserting that its sovereignty was violated. Such missions have long irked China, but the United States continues to have a large presence in the region. Is China ready to enforce its claims in the Pacific? How is the United States planning to deflect and diffuse these efforts, especially in light of the administration’s new National Defense Strategy?
Courtesy of the Asia Transparency Initiative at CSIS, this program will feature visual projections detailing the transformation of the South China Sea in recent years.