Chinese honour guard raise the Chinese flag during the commissioning ceremony of China's Shandong aircraft carrier (Image: Li Gang)

As Scott Morrison and other leaders begin to eye a return to something approaching normal, they must be a little jealous as they cast their eye towards China.

While a so-called snap back -- or "V-shaped" recovery -- is something Beijing may not have managed to execute economically as China heads for its worst economic year since the days of the Cultural Revolution, the situation is looking far more business-as-usual on the strategic front.

China’s gradual and relentless encroachment on the vast waters of the South China Sea, the site of a territorial dispute with seven neighbouring nations -- Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and Taiwan -- has barely taken a pause during the COVID-19 crisis.