China’s Land Reclamation Processes Cause Angst

Published on Author martint16

China is apparently building a “great wall of sand,” according to a top U.S. official. Its attempt at land reclamation is raising concerns over the country’s real intentions since the process is occurring in contested waters of the South China Sea.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris accused China of building the wall over the areas that have been claimed by several nations, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Fox News article said. China has created over 4 square kilometers of artificial landmass by dumping sand on to live coral reefs, then paving over them with concrete.

Oct. 16, 2012: Chinese frigate sails in waters off the island of Yonaguni in Japan's Okinawa prefecture.
Oct. 16, 2012: Chinese frigate sails in waters off the island of Yonaguni in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.

While China is entitled to almost all of the South China Sea, the Philippines and other countries are especially concerned by the land reclamation projects that might set them up for military capabilities that would further strengthen China’s territorial claims.

China said last year the action was “totally justified” because it had “sovereignty” over the area.

The U.S. says it has a national interest in settling the disputes peacefully. Harris said the United States is on track to reposition 60 percent of its navy to the area by 2020, allowing for a quick response if any crisis does break out.


3 Responses to China’s Land Reclamation Processes Cause Angst

  1. What does this sort of activity really offer China from a tactical standpoint – aside from merely flexing their consistently growing muscles. At what point will China realize that the benefits these destabilizing moves ultimately pail in comparison to the economic detriments.

    • Keep in mind that China is also involved in territorial disputes with Japan and Korea. Now add Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam to the equation. East Asia is rapidly turning into a powder keg, similar to the Europe and the Balkans prior to World War I. So this purely could be a militaristic investment for the potential conflict that will engulf Asia should confrontations escalate.

  2. This seems awfully reminiscent of China’s great walls. China is spending excessive resources on a program that is not worth the cost. But like Christian said, it also sends a message to the world of how much of a strong military power China is.