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Island Chain Strategy

The Island Chain Strategy is a strategy first mentioned by American foreign policy commentator John Foster Dulles in 1951 during the Korean War. It suggests surrounding the USSR and China by sea. The island chain concept did not become a major theme in American policy, however it has become a major fixation of Chinese analysts to this day. The concept heightens Chinese fears that they will be encircled by American forces, and emphasizes the geographical and strategic importance of Taiwan. It helps shape Chinese naval options and strategies, as well as playing a role in economic policy.

Within Chinese writings the Island Chain Strategy is divided into 3 parts, namely First Island Chain, the Second Island Chain and the Third Island Chain.

The First island Chain begins at the Kuril Islands, and finishes towards Borneo and the northern portion of the Philippines. It is the first chain to block socialist countries aligned with the USSR, and after Soviet Russia is dealt with the chain would then turn its focus on China. The key part of the first chain would be Taiwan.

Because the island chain is built up of a series of landmasses, it is also called the "unsinkable aircraft carrier", especially in reference to Taiwan.

The Second Island Chain can refer to two different interpretations, but the version most commonly used refers to the island chain which is formed by the Ogasawara Islands and Volcano Islands of Japan, in addition to Mariana Islands which is United States territory.

As it is located within the middle portion of the Pacific Ocean, it acts as a second strategic defense line for the United States.

The Third Island Chain is the final part of the strategy. Its island chain begins at the Aleutian Islands, and finishes up in Oceania. The key part of the Third Island Chain would be the Hawaii Islands of the United States.



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