If you like what China has done in the East China Sea, just wait till they do the same in the South China Sea

by Chris Zappone

The Bloomberg piece lays out the now-familiar “salami-slicing” strategy, compared to the game Go, to push out neighboring powers to establish a zone of influence in the East China Sea. Next up will be the South China Sea, according to Douglas Paal, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“China is playing the classic game of weiqi, wherein it slowly expands influence through steps that are not a threshold to violence and do not trigger a forcible response,” Paal said, referring to the strategic board game known as Go in English. “Next steps are likely in the South China Sea, but this will be delayed as China builds out its radar and intercept infrastructure.”

The nice thing is such a strategy achieves two goals simultaneously. It creates a zone of influence and also erodes a clear, rules-based order, sending up the mist of ambiguity the Chinese Communist Party likes to operate under. This is part of a macro trend across a number of realms as China’s power increases.