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Former ADF Head Says China’s Military Rise in South China Sea Is Almost Complete

Ross Babbage, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, argues the US and its allies (including Australia) need to implement a solid strategy to counter China under the lead of the Trump administration. In a report released last month, he warns there are five key consequences if Western leaders fail to combat China’s claims to the hotly-contested region.

First, Dr Babbage says giving Beijing control over such a massive transport and communications expanse will shake up the whole security environment in the Western Pacific region — which includes Australia — and warns this could “seriously complicate many types of future allied operations in the region”.

Second, he argues it will undermine decades of work that have gone into building frameworks of international law that govern how countries relate to each other.

Finally, he warns that if China is successful, this will just be the beginning. The rising superpower will be able to use the West’s inability to stop them as an invitation to go after other strategic territories and take part in other “highly assertive operations”. Even more worryingly, he says this message of the West’s “weakness” could extend to other non-western powers beyond China, like Russia, North Korea and Iran, as well as to a range of terrorist groups.