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In the South China Sea, the U.S. Stays the Course

MIN READFeb 18, 2016 | 01:28 GMT

(Stratfor)

Change comes slowly to Asia, a region of overwhelming geopolitical forces. Among the few exceptions to this rule is the South China Sea, where seemingly unimportant events can move through the region like an ocean swell. It was with this exception in mind that the media reacted so rabidly today after China placed two HQ-9 surface-to-air missile batteries on Woody Island, a link in the disputed Paracel Island chain. The media would have us believe that China's actions were a watershed moment in the militarization of the South China Sea -- and that they directly challenged the concept of freedom of navigation in its waters. A more sober assessment shows that what China did is neither surprising nor particularly consequential....

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