For years now, China has been at war against the United States in the South China Sea - except Washington didn't notice until the process was well under way. The Chinese way of war - modelled after the philosopher of middle antiquity, Sun Tzu - is to win without ever having to fight.
Thus the Chinese have been proceeding by microsteps: reclaim an island here, build a runway there, install a missile battery in a third place, deploy an oil-exploration rig temporarily in disputed waters, establish a governorate and so on.
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