Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia all control islands in the South China Sea. But China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
In 2012, China declared the region a “core national interest,” and it has been increasingly aggressive in asserting control over it, deploying an aircraft carrier in 2013, and moving an enormous oil rig into the area earlier this year.
Now, China is building its own islands, including a suspected air base, by dredging millions of tons of rock and sand and piling it on top of submerged reefs in the Spratlys.
Below is a BBC news video on some of China’s construction sites projects on five different reefs, including one that appears to be a concrete runway long enough to accommodate fighter jets.
- “China’s new map includes ‘Second National Territory’ of oceans,” July 11, 2014.
- “China threatens war in South and East China Seas,” Jan. 13, 2014.
- “Obama admin gets tougher on China over South China Sea claims,” Feb. 9, 2014.
- “Tension between China and Vietnam-Philippines ratchets up in South China Sea,” May 7, 2014.
- “China sinks VN fishing boat; deploys 3 nuclear subs to South China Sea; troops on VN border,” May 28, 2014.
- “China builds artificial island in South China Sea,” June 7, 2014.
- “Chinese warship tries to stop U.S. warship in So. China Sea’s international waters,” Dec. 13, 2013.
- “China’s irredentist nationalism and the six wars to come,” Sept. 23, 2013.