China's Next Territorial Claim: Hawaii and Almost the Entire Pacific Ocean?

The neverending ups and downs of what is quickly becoming the hottest geostrategic flashpoint on the planet, none other than the South China Sea, wasthe subject of a conference at Yale University this last May. Panels were filled with world-class experts promoting their latest research (including yours truly) detailing the various claims, counterclaims and strategic challenges surrounding this important body of water. And yet, it wasn’t the heated Q&A sessions or slick powerpoints that drove debate among the attendees, but rumors of China’s latest territorial claims—a 251 dash-line that extends over almost all of the Pacific Ocean—that created the most buzz.
According to a ‘report’ on the website Elitereaders, a ‘clicky’ website that reports ‘viral’-styled news,  Beijing is now claiming Hawaii and most of Micronesia. Delegates to the conference furiously began to share the article through various social media channels. Red-faced attendees were debating the nature of such claims as soon as they scanned the article. Many wondered if this was simply a negotiating strategy on Beijing’s part, a carefully crafted ploy to make equally outrageous claims in the South China Sea look meager by comparison—claiming massive chunks of the Pacific Ocean would sort of do that…. [read more]

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