Confrontations over disputed islands in the South China Sea have been going on for so many years it’s hard to keep track of the succession of standoffs, skirmishes and withdrawals — not to mention the wars of words.
But two researchers, who developed a database to track tactics used over 18 years by the six countries claiming sovereignty over the islands, have found that China has far exceeded its rivals in the use of military and paramilitary actions, economic clout and diplomatic “sabotage” as a means of asserting and defending those claims. ……
The researchers’ findings were particularly important in responding to China’s claims that is has stepped up activity in the South China Sea because of the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific announced in 2011, said Christopher Yung, one of the researchers who is now an independent political-military analyst. …..
When Yung traveled to China and presented the study to analysts at a think tank that focuses on South China Sea issues, their reaction amounted to, “Wait a minute; there are only 500 actions? There should be many, many more,” he said.
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