As military manoeuvres between the United States and China continue, it seems that the East Asian powerhouse is beating the United States in the so-called ‘gray zone’. This may be an obtuse concept to many people, but the term gray zone refers to the attempts of a nation to make military gains at the expense of a strategic competitor via somewhat covert tactics. Although these tactics may be aggressive, they are still ultimately intended to remain below the level that usually constitutes conventional military retaliation.

The most notable example of this has been China’s South China Sea strategy. In 2012, China began its manoeuvres in the region, establishing a permanent presence on the previously occupied Scarborough Shoal. Since then the Chinese effort in the South China Sea has become increasingly sustained and emboldened, and although the United States is clearly monitoring the region, the chances of any military retaliation at the time of writing seem to be fairly remote. FULL REPORT