Alexander Neill is a Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia Pacific security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia (IISS-Asia) office in Singapore. He is responsible for the IISS China programme, developing a comprehensive research agenda with key partners from the strategic community in China. Alexander worked for the British government in his early career focusing on Asia Pacific security, including three years on secondment to the United States Department of Defense in Washington DC. From 2005, he served as Head of the Asia Security Programme at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence as Security Studies (RUSI) in London. A graduate of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), he has published on Chinese strategic security issues but also has wider interests and expertise in Asian security, including counter-terrorism, deterrence strategy and military modernisation.
China’s large scale land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea have attracted considerable international attention in recent months, as well as the scorn of the United States and its allies. Most public debate has focused on the pace and scale of the creation of new land in the South China Sea and the status of such land according to international law. This discussion however focused on the military utility of these new islands, the impact on freedom of navigation through these waters and the strategic implications for the region.