China claims the bulk of the South China Sea as their new (and watery) City of Sansha (no, not that Sansa).
Lacking a little thing called "land," China is correcting that deficiency:
Satellite photos show China making rapid progress in building new islands in the Spratly islands. Some of these new islands are large enough for airstrips long enough to support warplanes, but most are suitable only for light transports and helicopters. This, however, makes these new islands suitable as staging areas for helicopter raids on nearby small islands claimed, or even occupied, by another nation. In effect, these new islands have become permanent aircraft carriers dotting the disputed islands of the South China Sea.
That's where our new Marine Corps presence in northwest Australia that will eventually become a battalion-sized force comes in:
[In] the context of the South China Sea where very small islands could be the battlefields, a small and well trained amphibious force capable of projecting platoons, companies, or the entire battalion to seize control of those small islands will have big effects.
It won't rise to the level of island hopping in World War II, but don't think that an islet hopping campaign featuring Marines figuratively raising the stars and stripes won't get China's attention.
Let's hope that the South China Sea becomes a kill sack for Chinese forces should it come to a fight.