Anyone who follows geopolitical news knows that China is in the midst of a tense standoff with the US and its allies regarding Beijing’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea.
To recap, China is building artificial islands atop reefs in the Spratly archipelago. Although other countries have embarked on similar initiatives in the past, the scale of Beijing’s efforts is, according to the US, unparalleled.
As the following graphic from WSJ shows, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, The Philippines, and Vietnam all have sovereign claims in the area:
China has constructed some 1,500 acres of sovereign territory in the Spratlys this year alone, leading its neighbors to cry foul and prompting the US to send surveillance aircraft to monitor the situation. Beijing views Washington’s interference as unacceptable (not to mention hypocritical) and has variously suggested that further intervention from the US could easily lead to a maritime “accident.”
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