Building artificial islands – China’s plot of changing status quo to bolster its claim in South China Sea (Part I)

12/09/2014


          China’s island factory
On May 2nd 2014, tensions dangerously escalated in the South China Sea (SCS) after China’s HYSY 981 oil rig began its drilling operation in an area within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf. While the HYSY 981 event has become the focal point of SCS developments at the moment, there are signs of another alarming threat to this region’s peace and stability.
News from various sources shows that China is quietly attempting to build an artificial island upon the Johnson South Reef in the Spratly Islands. Furthermore, Beijing is also planning similar activities in several other reefs of this archipelago. This is a dangerous intrigue and might give China significant advantages in SCS disputes.
In the BBC report, entitled “China’s Island Factory,” reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes describes his journey on a Filipino fishing boat to visit “new islands” created by Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea.
China has been moving sand onto reefs and shoals to add several new islands to the Spratly archipelago, in what foreign officials say is a new effort to expand the Chinese footprint in the South China Sea. The officials say the islands will be able to support large buildings, human habitation and surveillance equipment, including radar.
The appearance of these new islands has happened suddenly and is a dramatic new move in a longstanding territorial struggle in the South China Sea.
At the beginning of this year, the Chinese presence in the Spratly Islands consisted of a handful of outposts, a collection of concrete blockhouses perched atop coral atolls. Since January, China has been building three or four islands, projected to be 20 to 40 acres each, one Western official said. He added that there appeared to be at least one installation intended for military use, and that the new islands could be used for resupplying ships, including Chinese maritime patrol vessels.
 Now it is building substantial new islands on five different reefs. On one of these new islands, China seems to be preparing to build an air base with a concrete runway long enough for fighter jets to take off and land.
It is argued that the project will provide supplies to ships and oil rigs, but also further deepen mistrust among China’s neighbors and cause instability in the region. Moreover, the Chinese construction appeared to be designed to support an airstrip and a port, increasing concerns that the project may be an attempt by China to better project its military strength in the South China Sea.
Beijing’s intrigue to construct artificial islands in the Spratly Islands is a major step in its plan to boost its military power there. Since 1988, China has illegally occupied at least 9 reefs in this archipelago. For the purpose of military stationing or for other purposes, China has been gradually constructing and expanding artificial structures on those reefs.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
Other post

All comments [ 10 ]


Quân Hoàng 12/9/14 20:33

China has been dredging millions of tons of rock and sand and piling it on top of submerged reefs in the South China Sea. That's so aggressive!

Huy Quốc 12/9/14 20:35

China can create “islands” on top of previously submerged features and create conditions for these new islands to “sustain human habitation,” then China would have strongly bolstered its claims to the South China Sea.

Hoàng Lân 12/9/14 20:40

They want to be an islands producer, so crazy!

Vân Nhàn 12/9/14 20:42

On Johnson South Reef, China seems to be preparing to build an air base with a concrete runway long enough for fighter jets to take off and land.

Hùng Quân 12/9/14 20:45

They built the islands so that it can lay claim to the exclusive economic zone that surrounds them for 200 nautical miles, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.

Lê Tín 12/9/14 20:48

The Chinese construction appeared to be designed to support an airstrip and a port, in an attempt by China to better project its military strength in the South China Sea.

Quốc Cường 12/9/14 20:50

This would mean China could control much of the South China Sea, a vital waterway for region.

Huy Lâm 12/9/14 20:52

Beijing’s intrigue to construct artificial islands in the Spratly Islands is a major step in its plan to boost its military power there.

Quốc Kiên 12/9/14 20:55

Some analysts say the Chinese military is eyeing a perch in the Spratlys as part of a long-term strategy of power projection across the Western Pacific.

Phạm Hiếu 12/9/14 20:58

Vietnam demanded that China immediately stop illegal activities of expansion and construction on the reef and withdraw its vessels and facilities from the area.

Your comments