Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chinese Island Building Raising Eyebrows

China's continued island building since early 2014 by transforming submerged reefs into artificial land has been catching the eyes of its regional neighbors. Although neighboring countries like Taiwan and the Philippines also lay claim to some islands in the spratly islands where most of the artificial islands are, their work is raising eyebrows because in the past year China has managed to construct 2000 acres of islands. China has stated that the islands will primarily be used for civilian purposes, but has also admitted that they are of military value as well. However, it would be in violation of international law to use those islands for military purposes as they are artificial. This means that the Chinese have already violated international law, but not much can be done by the international community. Much of the worry stems from the fact that Chinese authorities have not formally addressed the public on what it's true intentions with the islands are, along with the fact that they are very wary of unexpected visitors coming near their islands, as an American patrol jet recently was shooed away from the area.

4 comments:

Netta Wang 7 said...

By placing military equipment in the Spratlys, China is violating "a 2002 agreement between China and ASEAN, in which all parties agreed not to upend the status quo in the South China Sea". I think it is sensible that the US is worried about the creation and use of these islands because they are a blatant violation of many international laws, especially because artificial islands to not hold any of the legal rights of natural islands under the UN law. I hope the United States will be able to effectively collaborate with the Philippines and other SE Asia countries if China continues these unlawful practices.

Kelsey O'Donnell said...

Well first of all, building on submerged reefs is horrible for the environment and that is an issue that needs to be addressed. But in terms of politics, I agree with Netta that this is indeed something the US needs to worry about as well as other neighboring countries. Violating international law is a big deal and needs to be dealt with immediately, but since China is an ally to the US as well as many other countries, I believe that countries are lagging on enforcing said rules. If this were another country with a more immediate threat action would be taken right away. Due to this, I don't believe it to be fair or a good example that China is being let to do this, so far. While they should in no way be made an example and treated harshly, they should be reprimanded.

Ben Maison said...

You are right about the fact that this situation would be treated differently if it wasn't China, but I think your explanation is a bit inaccurate. "China is an ally to the US"
I don't think that's how I would describe their relationship. Even the title of rivals goes further to explain their behavior. If a smaller country made this move, they would be intimidated right back out of it. China, on the other hand, is more like Russia. Russia made a move into Ukraine and no one went in to directly confront them (save the locals) precisely because Russia is such a superpower. In China's case, the US is cautious of power expansion of their rival. When they see this expansion on what should be classified as international waters and then are told to "get out," the internal alarm bells have rung correctly. China should pullout out of the region; the chances of that happening are small.

Spencer said...

The US should look at this issue and try to impose sanctions however they can. So many things are wrong with this; not only are they ruining the environment but they'r already breaking a law with using the military on these islands. The fact that the people of China have yet to be told what exactly they are being used for is enough evidence in itself to suggest that China is trying to creep on by knowing that what they are doing is suspect. This is kind of reminiscent to when China lies about their currency. Nobody will push immediately on China because like Netta said, the US and China are allies and so are many nations as well. But enough is enough, and ultimately what comes around comes back around. Do something!