China’s seven new islets in South China Sea set off alarm bells

The pace and scale of expansion of building seven new islets by China has set the alarm bells ringing in the region. Recent reports show how China has been piling sands onto the reefs for the past one year and made progress by creating seven new islets.

In June, China had announced that its plan to create islands would soon be completed. China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on the islands, according to a report in New York Times. The new islands give China access to harness the portion of seas for its own use that have been out of reach in the past. This move of China has also raised concerns about the marine ecosystem which is getting damaged due to the building of these islands by China.

The Fiery Cross Reef, which is one of the most strategically important island to China, was acquired by Beijing after a confrontation with Vietnam in 1988. Twenty seven years later, this has become the most important of the seven newly created positions of China in the South China Sea. The rise in number of troops in Fiery Cross is said to have gained momentum in the recent past and the island has been equipped with an airstrip estimated to be around 3300 metres that can accommodate a wide range of Chinese combat and transport planes, along with a harbour big enough to accommodate the largest of the ships in China.

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