Why China is building islands in the South China Sea

Vox_Since 2014, China has been building islands in the middle of the South China Sea. What were once underwater reefs are now sandy islands complete with airfields, roads, buildings, and missile systems. In less than two years, China has turned seven reefs into seven military bases in the South China Sea, one of the most contentious bodies of water in the world.

The sea is one of the most important areas of ocean in the world. It’s estimated to hold 11 billion barrels of oil, 109 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 10 percent of the world’s fisheries. Most importantly, 30 percent of the world’s shipping trade flows through the South China Sea to the busy ports of Southeast Asia. It’s an incredibly important strategic area, and five countries currently claim some part of it.

Most countries base their claims off the

href=””>United Nations Law of the Seas, which says a country’s territory extends 200 miles off its shores, an area called the exclusive economic zone, or EEZ. Any trade or resources that fall in a country’s EEZ belong to that country; they’re its sovereign territory. Any area that is not in an EEZ is considered international waters and subject to UN maritime law, meaning it’s shared by everyone. Every country in the region, which includes Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and Vietnam, bases its claim to the South China Sea on the UN’s EEZ laws — except China.

China argues it has a historical claim to the South China Sea, dating back to naval expeditions in the 15th century. After World War II, the Japanese Empire lost control of the South China Sea, and China took advantage of the moment to reclaim it. On maps, it started drawing a dashed line that encompassed most of the South China Sea. This line became its official claim and is known today as the Nine-Dash Line, because it always has nine dashes. In 1973, when the UN law established EEZs, China reaffirmed its Nine-Dash Line, refusing to clarify the line’s boundaries and rejecting other countries’ claims.

Since then, tensions have built around who rightfully owns the South China Sea. The dispute has centered on the Spratly Islands, an archipelago at the heart of the South China Sea. Currently, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam claim some part of the Spratly Island chain. They’ve asserted their claims by putting small buildings, ports, and even some people on what are essentially rocks in the middle of the ocean.

But the Spratlys are very important, because whichever country can successfully claim them can extend its EEZ to include them, thus gaining miles of precious sovereign territory. This is why China began building up islands in 2014. By turning these rocks into military bases, the Chinese are now able to support hundreds of ships, bolstering their presence in the region. They are using fishing boats, surveillance ships, and navy destroyers to set up blockades around other countries’ islands and defend their own. This is all done very cautiously and in small steps in order to avoid sparking a wider conflict.

Since China began building islands, the disputes have not become violent. But tensions are building in the region. As China deploys more of its military to the Spratlys, other countries are getting nervous and building up their own islands. It’s a complex situation that will continue to gain international attention, for better or for worse.

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Sách giáo khoa phải viết cụ thể về cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc 

20/08/2017 08:26 GMT+7

TTOBộ Lịch sử Việt Nam tái bản lần thứ nhất đã đưa ra những quan điểm tiến bộ, trong đó từ bỏ cách gọi chính quyền Việt Nam cộng hòa là ngụy quân, ngụy quyền và chỉ đích danh quân Trung Quốc xâm lược Việt Nam trong chiến tranh biên giới phía Bắc…

Sách giáo khoa phải viết cụ thể về cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc 
Xẻ núi đưa pháo lên điểm tựa trong cuộc chiến bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc – Ảnh: ĐÀO VĂN SỬ

Cuộc chiến tranh biên giới phía Bắc từ năm 1979 cần phải chỉ đích danh là cuộc chiến tranh xâm lược của Trung Quốc đánh Việt Nam.

Không thể gọi là quân Trung Quốc tiến xuống hay tiến vào Việt Nam, bởi như vậy không nói lên được bản chất vấn đề.

Sách giáo khoa lịch sử phải viết cụ thể về cuộc chiến này, chứ không thể viết dăm ba dòng như vậy thì ai có thể hiểu được?

 PGS.TS NGUYỄN MẠNH HÀ

Tiếp tục đọc “Sách giáo khoa phải viết cụ thể về cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc “

TQ hứa không chiếm thêm nơi nào ở Biển Đông?

Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Phi Luật Tân vừa cho biết, “TQ đã bảo đảm với Phi Luật Tân sẽ không chiếm thêm nơi nào ở Biển Đông” cũng như sẽ không xây thêm gì ở Scarborough Reef (Bãi An Nhơn) của Phi bị TQ chiếm đóng từ năm 2012. Được hỏi về điều này, người phát ngôn của Bộ Ngoại giao TQ chỉ nói vòng vòng mà không trả lời. Vậy là sao?

Vậy là nói chuyện kiểu thả hỏa mù của TQ. Tiếp tục đọc “TQ hứa không chiếm thêm nơi nào ở Biển Đông?”

Chinese long-range drones, artillery on artificial islands

First posted on UNCLOSforum.wordpress.com on May 29, 2015

FP Situation Report
Friday, May 29, 2015

One of the biggest bits of news has been the first sighting of a massive new Chinese long-range drone that is thought to be able to pick up and track stealthy aircraft at long range. The drone, first reported Thursday by Popular MechanicsJeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer, had its maiden flight in February, and “could change the brewing arms race in the Asia Pacific.”

The double-bodied behemoth, with an estimated 40-meter wingspan, is packed with seven different radar systems and a variety of surveillance equipment to help it detect U.S. stealth aircraft like the F-35 fighter, B-2 bombers, and ships at long distances.

And to no one’s surprise, Beijing has been placing offensive weaponry on the artificial islands it’s been building in the South China Sea. We’ve already seen what look like air strips on some of the clumps of dirt hastily dumped on top of coral reefs, but the mobile artillery pieces that American intelligence have detected is something new.

While hardly a threat to any naval or air assets in the region, the guns are within range of nearby islands claimed by Vietnam, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Julian Barnes and Gordon Lubold, and their sheer symbolism carries some significant weight. With American surveillance planes flying nearby and U.S. Navy ships insisting on the right to transit close to the makeshift bits of land, the artillery pieces represent a small, but real, escalation of the game.