A nation reliant on seaborne trade will become less capable of, and less willing to, wage war when deprived of access to such trade. Shipping flowing into and out of the first island chain feeds the Chinese economy. If armed conflict should erupt between China and the United States, the U.S. Navy should establish and maintain a blockade around the first island chain.
British naval historian Sir Julian Corbett talked about two fundamental types of blockade: tactical blockades, which involve monitoring ports and coastlines, and strategic blockades, which control chokepoints and major shipping lanes. In the China scenario, only the latter is feasible. The numerous chokepoints in and around the first island chain make China especially vulnerable to a blockade of strategic points.