Cass, I do not disagree with the content of your post: only suggesting that Beijing may have an unrecognized ulterior motive for going to such pains to make the waters of the South China Sea exclusively its own. It relates directly to Taiwan's rival claim:cassowary wrote: ↑Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 amThe nine-dash-line claim of China is a different matter as to its claim of the Islands, neverfail. The former claims the sea within the line belongs to China. This is far more serious than the Islands. It means that ships sailing through that large ocean must have Chinese permission. This could potentially block freedom of navigation. It should be regarded as international waters.
The Nine Dash Line
On 12 July 2016, an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea ruled that China has no legal basis to claim "historic rights" within its nine-dash line in a case brought by the Philippines. The tribunal judged that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources within the Nine-Dash Line. The ruling was rejected by both Taiwan and China.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/20/worl ... h-sea.html
Way ahead of Beijing's ambition to become the great hegemonic power of Asia lies its obsession with finally ending the Chinese Civil War with the final absorption of Taiwan into the Chinese Motherland. PRC strategy seems to be to end Taiwan's rival claim to sovereignty by crowding it out of the region.
Another step in the decades long creeping encirclement of "the other China" with the ultimate goal of extinguishing its quasi-sovereignty for all time.
The (began in 1927 with the KMT massacre of Communist supporters outside Shanghai) Chinese civil war did not end with the evacuation of Chiang and his remnant KMT forces to the island -redoubt of Taiwan in 1949. It eventually petered out with a ceasefire but since them has assumed other forms - some of them rather bizarre.
In this the United States appears to have been playing a double game all along. On the one hand it acts as ultimate protector of Taiwanese independence by inserting a US naval flotilla into the Formosa strait every time the PRC appears to be gearing up to launch a seaborne invasion of the island (it did so as recently as 1995). On the other hand it recognizes the PRC government as the legitimate government and "Taiwan as part of China". There seems to be something very contradictory about the US position: which the PRC government could not fail to be aware of.
Could it be that the US foreign policy establishment is determined to keep Taiwan "alive" just in case mainland China (conforming to its past historical norm) eventually erupts in rebellion permitting Taiwan to re-enter the fray with a view to recovering what the KMT loss between 1946 and 1949?