China designated Sansha a new city on a tiny offshore island on July 24 and announced that it would establish a garrison here to enforce its claims to the South China Sea. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
China’s decision to establish a "city" and military garrison on a tiny disputed island in the South China Sea was a brazen move by Beijing to seize control of massive offshore oil and gas deposits despite territorial claims by five other countries. It is also proof of China’s confidence that no state will dare to step in to stop it. The United States doesn’t particularly want to get involved, but it may have to, in order to keep shipping lanes open for East-West trade and for the movement of U.S. navy ships.
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