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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-now-I-take-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes about a Chinese building project designed to cement claims to a disputed region of the South China Sea. Sand, cement, wood, and steel are China's weapons of choice as it asserts its claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei have sparred for decades over ownership of the 100 islands and reefs, which measure less than 1,300 acres in total but stretch across an area about the size of Iraq. In recent months, vessels belonging to the People's Republic have been spotted ferrying construction materials to build new islands in the sea. Pasi Abdulpata, a Filipino fishing contractor who in October was plying the waters near Parola Island in the northern Spratlys, says he came across "this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube."

Artificial islands could help China anchor its claim to waters that host some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The South China Sea may hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China has considered the Spratlys—which it calls Nansha—part of its territory since the 1940s and on occasion has used its military might to enforce its claim. In 1988 a Chinese naval attack at Johnson South Reef, in the northern portion of the archipelago, killed 64 Vietnamese border guards.
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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

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  • All wars ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:02PM (#47295783) Homepage

    Are resource wars.

    And start out rather like this.

    • by Cryacin (657549) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:12PM (#47295811)
      We have always been at war with East Asia.
      • We are now at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia
    • Re:All wars ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:34PM (#47295877)

      Are resource wars.

      Except the resources that China hopes to gain will never equal the cost, in defense spending and lost trade, of alienating her neighbors. In the modern world, all wars are dumb.

      • >> In the modern world, all wars are dumb

        Unless they lop off chunks of the Ukraine. Or depopulate chunks of rival territory in Bosnia. Or expand tribal influence over oil-rich parts of Iraq. Or...
        (Long story short, there are still some pretty evil dudes in "the modern world.")

        This essay's also a good introduction to the role of trade in precipitating war (e.g., "lost trade" doesn't necessarily reduce chances of war):
        http://www.ied.info/articles/a... [ied.info]

      • There is a reason bullies tend to pick on weak loners, it's because they are unable to defend themselves and unable to get enough support from friends to overpower the bully.

        The thing about Vietnam is that it it's a small country that doesn't have a lot of allies(Laos and Thailand have had armed conflicts with Vietnam in the not so distant past, and of course the whole French/US thing). China may be betting on Vietnam basically being forced to deal with China, since China is the dominant economic force
      • by Lotana (842533)

        I disagree.

        China is vastly militarily superior to the immediate neighbors. They don't need to do any extra spending that they are not doing already.

        China is such an integral manufacturer that no one substantial will be cancelling trade. They got a massive internal market as well.

        So what is the downside to acquiring more territory right now? What is Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, or Brunei going to do about it? Beg the US for intervention? Considering how US relies so much on Chinese market: Good lu

        • China has pretty much always been militarily superior to their immediate neighbors. At the same time, they have a LONG history of losing those those same neighbors.
      • So it's about pride. And Asians are extremely prideful.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Except the resources that China hopes to gain will never equal the cost, in defense spending and lost trade, of alienating her neighbors.

        Unless of course they succeed in claiming the land (sea) and in 40-50 years it's just a footnote in a history book.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Are resource wars.

      And start out rather like this.

      You credit people with much more sense than they have. There are and have been many wars based on ideology and religion - in fact there is a religion whose stated aim is to fight all who do not convert or accept a status designed to "make them feel subdued"

      • by pla (258480)
        in fact there is a religion whose stated aim is to fight all who do not convert or accept a status designed to "make them feel subdued"

        Scientology?
        • by Chrisq (894406)
          Qur'an 9:29 [usc.edu]

          Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    • by gtall (79522)

      Really? How about the Israeli-Arab wars? What's the resource, sand? Korean War? Last we heard, the Korean peninsula wasn't rich in anything, the North even worse off than the South. Vietnam? Yep, the U.S. lusted after their jungle. The current Syrian Civil War? The fighting appears to be over sand again. The Afghan Civil War that brought in the Taliban? No one knew what minerals were there until recently, and the Taliban had no use for them anyhow, all they need is Allah and the obliteration of human hope.

      • by khallow (566160)

        How about the Israeli-Arab wars?

        Land and strategic position in the Middle East. If the "Arabs" had won, that would have meant territory for the countries neighboring on Israel and a stronger strategic position for the USSR in the largest oil bearing region in the world.

        Last we heard, the Korean peninsula wasn't rich in anything

        Except an economy currently sized over a trillion dollars.

        The current Syrian Civil War?

        Misuse of resources particularly agriculture. There's a lot of starving people out there.

        The Afghan Civil War that brought in the Taliban?

        The USSR wanted access to a warm water port and of course, those minerals that they supposedly didn't know about.

    • by hey! (33014)

      No. Some wars are about controlling geopolitically strategic territory... and they start out rather like this as well.

      Most folks today don't remember the Cold War or Alfred Thayer Mahan's sea power theories, but you can bet the old men on the Politburo Standing Committee do.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:04PM (#47295789)
    ...why we really need to get weaned off of fossil fuels. Otherwise it's like the next day's heroin fix, only with oil.
  • Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:09PM (#47295803) Homepage Journal

    Like that guy who built his house on public property [wave3.com], these islands will just be removed if they aren't part of China. That's kind of sociopathic [wikipedia.org] of them to pull that kind of a stunt unless the dispute is resolved, cooperatively.

    • How do you propose removing an island, and to where?

    • by PJ6 (1151747)

      That's kind of sociopathic [wikipedia.org] of them to pull that kind of a stunt unless the dispute is resolved, cooperatively.

      All sufficiently large organizations tend toward sociopathy.

  • The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick in China (2934527) on Monday June 23, 2014 @12:24AM (#47296025)
    China in this instance, is so ridiculously hypocritical - their entire argument about the Senkaku(Diaoyu) islands is that Japan has only controlled them in modern times, and China has laid claim (based on little evidence, and they're uninhabited) since ancient times. Yet, here, they're claiming these islands from all these other countries, and have only laid claim since 1940 -- a claim that seemingly hasn't been supported except by China themselves. Which way they want it? All ways. China has a big 'face' problem so can't look weak to it's oppressed masses for fear of social unrest, and like Russia, thinks the whole world around it belongs to them. Really tired of this bullshit.
    • Occupation (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The islands belong to whoever lives there and manages to chase others away. If China successfully put troops and guns on them, then the islands are theirs, end of story.

    • Re:The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday June 23, 2014 @01:46AM (#47296199) Homepage Journal
      Well the problem will persist basically as long as the Chinese Communist Party does.... The CCP is deeply unpopular in pretty much every arena save for how it is handling the economy, if the economy starts to go south you may see Tienamen-like events erupting all over the country. In order to combat this the CCP has to keep the economy humming along and large #s of migrants from the countryside employed. They have done a decent job thus far, but there are some major cracks in the Chinese economy on the horizon. Long story short they copied the Japanese model, right down to the bad loans.

      If China's economy does not keep on expanding you are looking at a potential financial crisis that would make the whole Lehman thing seem tame by comparison. The reason they are getting so bold is because to the CCP, exploiting these resources may literally be a life-or-death situation, as most dictators don't tend to just end up retired in a villa somewhere, they end up with their heads being separated from their necks.
      • Re:The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday June 23, 2014 @09:40AM (#47297433)
        You raise some good points and you may be right, but I wondering if this is actually a sign that the CCP is losing control over the PLA (People's Liberation Army). For years to keep the military at their beck and call, the CCP has been working the propaganda machine into overdrive. My experience is that the average Chinese person, at least those in the big cities and not rural people, doesn't really trust the government or believe everything they say, but the propaganda works really well for those who join the PLA. I feel that China's military is pretty unprofessional and looking to start trouble and this is because they've been indoctrinated to believe that everybody is against good old China because of jealousy and if China doesn't fight tooth and nail for everything, they'll wind up with nothing. Throw in a few references to treaties they don't like that were signed in the 1800s (none of which are in force today, by the way) to bolster the claim that they've always been the victim and you have a military that acts like a rabid dog. Also, it doesn't help that the constitution of China pledges the PLA to defend the CCP, not China itself. So the CCP is at once both the state and more important than the state at the same time. It may be that all these years of indoctrination are bearing their inevitable ugly fruit now and they have to keep them busy building islands so they don't try to force an invasion of Taiwan, something that would possibly result in the US and Japan attacking China over.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 23, 2014 @01:10AM (#47296115) Homepage Journal

    Jeez, even islands are "Made in China"

  • China's claim is absurd; no one else in the world considers these islands disputed. No amount of dredging is going to change that.

  • "With blackjack! And hookers!"

  • After anchoring its right to the South China Sea with islands constructed from Chinese materials, China has begun investigating the use of other purely Chinese items in the rest of the world.

    As such, China is announcing an air defense identification zone surrounding all zoos containing giant pandas. In particular, all aircraft entering or departing the airspace in the 5 miles surrounding the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. will now have to file a flight plan with China's Ministry of

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