Why China Wants the Spratlys

The islands could help Beijing secure the Western Pacific without actually fighting for it.

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For several months, China has been relentlessly asserting its control over disputed parts of the South China Sea. Hundreds of vessels in the Chinese maritime militia – lightly armed fishing fleets that don’t so much fish as serve as foot soldiers for the Chinese navy – have been squatting around various reefs in the disputed […]

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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.