China builds islands to claim sea

Jake Anderson, Reporter

Almost the entire South China Sea is about to be claimed solely by China. They have rapidly transformed reefs into man-made islands that appear able to be militarized and China won’t hesitate to do so.

The question is, is this legal?

It needs to be understood that this is international water and the Chinese are making islands just so they can claim it. This that needs to be understood is that the South China Sea is massive in size.

What is recognized globally is that international water begins 12 miles off the mainland. If China were to “legally” claim the South China Sea, they would have to have hundreds of islands spread out across the sea.

Now, the United States doesn’t recognize these islands as being real, so the Navy has been sailing within 12 miles of these islands.

Also, the same is occurring with the air space. U.S. spy planes have been flying over the islands to take pictures of them with Chinese threats always lurking.

The Chinese have been warning the United States not to do either of these things, saying there could be armed conflicts as a consequence of the navy’s actions.

The purpose for the islands that have already been claimed (and are actually islands) is to deter military action of other countries that are in that region.

Clearly, the Chinese are trying to get these islands out there to set military posts and to control trade routes. Most, if not all of them, have an airstrip for planes and a loading bay for ships.

To make matters worse, these islands are being made on top of coral reefs. The consequences of this are drastic.

These environments are home to several endangered species. Not to mention, the reefs are imperative to ocean ecology and living things on land.

Coral reefs control the amount of carbon dioxide in the water. Without coral reefs, the ocean would acidify due the absorption of carbon dioxide. This would affect all living things on earth.

China has already destroyed several reefs and they don’t appear to want to stop. One by one the reefs will be destroyed in that region, having consequences in water and on land. Fish will start dying, the ocean food chain will slowly be destroyed. Finally, humans that depend on fishing will need an alternate for the food they don’t have.

The South China Sea is a key route for travel and trade in that region. With the Chinese trying to take total control over it, there will be many conflicts within the China Sea region and globally.