SSridhar wrote:Peregrine wrote:The Chinese – IMHO - are playing ONLY ONE GAME. Ultimate control of the Indian and Eastern Pacific Oceans.
Peregrine ji, IMO, the Chinese are playing only one game right now and that is control of Indo-China Sea.
China wants to dominate what it calls the 'First Island Chain', that is, the arc from Japan in the north to Philippines in the east to Taiwan in the south and Indonesia in the west.
They need to control the ICS mainly for three reasons. One, to be able to freely pursue a short, swift war to invade and occupy Taiwan if and when needed without other powers such as the US or alliances such as the Quad stopping it. If they can hold off for ten days, they will subsume Taiwan, it is their thinking. Two, of course, consume the riches of ICS. Three, establish hegemony as the Middle Kingdom.
But, for that, they have to secure the two flanks, the stretch from Africa to Melakka of the IOR and Western Pacific.
When Xi speaks of c.2035 for modernization of armed forces, my interpretation is that this is what he means, being capable of holding off other power(s) in ICS while PRC swiftly completes the task of integrating Taiwan with the Mainland.
As with every Chinese strategy, they hope to achieve multiple benefits in one stroke. They are therefore perfectly happy that, in this process, they are also stringing India with the pearls.
From First Island Chain
The first island chain has its purpose in Chinese military doctrine. The People's Republic of China views the first island chain as the area it must secure and disable from American bases, aircraft and aircraft-carrier groups, if in defending itself it must tactically unleash a pre-emptive attack against an enemy. The aim of the doctrine is to seal off the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and East China Sea inside an arc running from the Aleutians in the north to Borneo in the south. According to reports by American think tanks CSBA and RAND, by 2020, China will be well on its way to having the means to achieve its first island chain policy.
I think they're less concerned about the riches and more about having a secure bastion for their navy. Right now they're fenced in on all sides. Securing their flanks as far away as Africa and Western Pacific is stretching it a bit far. Even further is ringing India. They haven't as yet broken out of that box they're in Japan/S.Korea at one end and Vietnam at the other with Taiwan in between. They have NO friends there except for the islands they're creating in the middle of the ocean.