The United States has been considering sending Navy ships and planes to the South China Sea to contest Chinese claims on the region of the ocean, the Wall Street Journal reported. China has claimed an area of the South China Sea known as the Spratly Islands.
Chinese embassy spokesperson Zhu Haiquan said about the islands in the South China Sea,
“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands (Spartly Islands) and their adjacent waters… The relevant construction, which is reasonable, justified and lawful, is well within China’s sovereignty. It does not impact or target any country, and is thus beyond reproach.”
China has been artificially constructing more land to the islands in order to reclaim the islands, the Inquisitr reported. This is accomplished by dredging up sand from the ocean floor and placing it around the island in order to grow it. So far, China has created at least 2,000 acres of more land, according to U.S. estimates. The U.S. has not recognized China’s claims to the islands, despite the construction.
A U.S. official said about China’s construction in the South China Sea,
“It’s important that everyone in the region have a clear understanding of exactly what China is doing… We’ve got to get eye on.”
The U.S. has monitored China’s construction in the South China Sea using satellites. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has considered sending Navy ships to assert the freedom of navigation in the contested South China Sea. Carter has requested sending ships within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands China has been constructing.
A U.S. official said about the U.S. response to China in the region,
“We are considering how to demonstrate freedom of navigation in an area that is critical to world trade… The U.S. and its allies have a very different view than China over the rules of the road in the South China Sea.”
Several countries also lay claim to portions of the South China Sea. The South China Sea serves as a vital shipping course for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China though has claimed parts of the South China Sea that belong to the other nations in the region.
Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario stressed that action would be required soon,
“We are taking the position that we must do something quickly, less the massive reclamation results in the de facto control by China of the South China Sea,”
China has also begun building an airstrip on one of the artificially made islands. It is suggested that the airstrip is meant for military aircraft.