China's Advances in the South China Sea: Strategies and Objectives
The sea lanes of the South China Sea are vital not only as a trade route but also for strategic security. It is self-evident that this should be so for the East Asian countries who lay claim to the area, but it is also true for those nations further afield who are affected by the activities there, such as Japan, Korea and the US. Based on his observations of the Chinese navy'sactivities in the South China Sea over the last ten years, Shigeo Hiramatsu, Professor of Social Sciences at Kyorin University, examines the history of the Chinese Navy within the context of East Asian security in the following article. He argues that in light of Chinese plans to increase the capability of its navy, a strong US-Japan relationship as well as a more active Japanese role in the region is essential to prevent a possible flare up of skirmishes around the South China Sea.