Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Occupied islands and shoals

China reclaims 1,294 hectares from the South China Sea


China has reclaimed 3,200 acres in the South China Sea, says Pentagon

Defense department says China is developing and weaponizing islands in its most detailed assessment to date of the country’s island-building program

Associated Press in Washington

Fri 13 May 2016 16.38 EDT
Last modified on Fri 14 Jul 2017 15.25 EDT

A new Pentagon report says China has reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land in the south-eastern South China Sea. But the country’s focus has shifted to developing and weaponizing those man-made islands so it will have greater control over the maritime region without resorting to armed conflict.

In its most detailed assessment to date of China’s island-building program, the defense department said three of the land features in the Spratly Islands now have nearly 10,000ft runways and large ports in various stages of construction.

< Edited >

The 3,200 acres only represents China’s reclamation in the Spratleys and doesn’t include its building in the Paracels, further northwest, including the contested Woody Island, in its estimates. China has deployed anti-aircraft missiles to Woody Island.

< Edited >

Tenets Of A Regional Defense Strategy - Considerations for the Indo-Pacific
by Jonathan W. Greenert:

Excerpts from page 19:
--- Quote ---More fundamentally, regional countries have perceived the United States’ slow and politicized response to Chinese activities as having been insufficient to address the challenge. Indeed, there is evidence that Chinese leaders were prepared for a more robust reaction from the United States and might have recalibrated their activities as a consequence. When there was no such response, the island-building campaign continued apace.100

The United States has said that it takes no position on conflicting claims, nor is it in a position to enforce international law or the tribunal ruling. 101 While conflict seems unlikely in the near term, the changing status quo calls into question the Unites States’ commitment both to its allies, especially the Philippines, and to a “free and open” Indo-Pacific.

100 In my interactions as U.S. chief of naval operations with the PLA Navy commander, Admiral Wu Shengli, Admiral Wu made clear that he thought the United States would have a more forceful reaction when China began its island-building.

101 “U.S. Has ‘Frank’ Exchange on South China Sea during Trump Visit,” Reuters, November 9, 2017,

--- End quote ---

Interesting insights from the former Chief of Naval Operations under Obama who effectively admitted that the US bungled their response to China's island-building activities rather badly.

As retired Commodore Rex Robles once said, China is an opportunistic enemy. If you take your eye off the ball . . . they will take advantage.

We can't make them go away. We can't pretend they don't exist. We can't pretend that they are friends. We have to accept that we have a kleptomaniac neighbor that need to engage on OUR terms.

In fairness to President Duterte, he's not the only one who tried the "friendship" card with China.

Chinese Warship Passed Dangerously Close To American Destroyer During South China Sea Patrol.

--- Quote ---U.S. President Donald Trump did not order a single FONOP until almost six months into his tenure, amid what initially appeared to be warming ties between him and China's President Xi Jinping. That has steadily proven not to be the case...

“Maybe he's [Xi] not [my friend] anymore, I'll be honest with you,” Trump said during a press conference at the United Nations on Sept. 26, 2018. “I think we had a very good friendship."
--- End quote ---

I know there are plenty of stout-hearted folks out there who are bursting at the seams to fight China while busily accusing Duterte of cowardice.  But given all the facts - many of which go unreported or glossed over by an agenda-driven media - there truly is something to be said about at least trying this tact since it's hard to deny that it's paid off, somewhat.

Of course, anti-Duterte folks would never be satisfied that Filipino fisherfolk are back in Panatag because China is still in control over it, conveniently forgetting who lost that hitherto unchallenged Filipino territory in the first place.  The cold hard fact is that the old man didn't cause this problem.  He merely inherited it from that bungling duo of Barrack and BS.

That's why Greenert's admission on America's weak response - something that had strangely not gained much publicity - is so significant because it explained not only why China is running amok in the SCS but also why PH lost Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippines was never going to be a significant road block to China's plans.  It was always going to be the US that had to step up because, as their own Admiral admitted to Greenert, China even expected more.  Instead, Obama - for reasons he should be called to account for instead of being subjected to fawning media attention nowadays - merely stood aside while BS forged ahead anyway - ready to fight for Panatag to the last American.

So when Duterte asked the Americans, "why didn't you stop China?", the old man is trying to tell everyone to stop using him as a scapegoat because that's what he - and to a certain extent, Trump - are being made out to be by this neo-liberal media cover up in order to spare Barrack and BS the rightful credit of losing significant ground to China in the SCS.

Too bad there isn't a like button with this software  :)


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