At this point, it seems to be a fait accompli.
By building air bases and hardened bunkers on tiny islands, some of which are reclaimed from the sea, and by installing sophisticated radar and missile defense systems, China has shown it is determined to achieve military primacy in the region, Admiral Harry Harris said.
Beijing’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea are widely disputed and the body of water has long been viewed as a potential flashpoint.
“If China continues to arm all of the bases they have reclaimed in the South China Sea, they will change the operational landscape in the region,” Harris told Pentagon reporters.
“Short of war with the United States, China will exercise de facto control of the South China Sea.”