China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea grows

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A new Pentagon report released on Thursday says that China’s reclamation efforts in the Spratly Islands has grown dramatically over the last few months, and at a rate far faster than earlier this year.

Previous estimates that China has reclaimed 2,000 acres since December 2013 are wrong, the Pentagon report says, and the real amount is around 2,900 acres.

According to the Pentagon, China has reclaimed more land in the past 20 months than the other claimants combined over the past 40 years. China said in early August that it has halted its reclamation efforts in the island chain, although many countries question these claims.

On Fiery Cross Reef, China has built an airstrip that the country could use as an alternative to an aircraft carrier. Reuters reports that the 3,000-metre-long runway will most likely be operational by the end of this year.

At many of the reclamation sites in the Spratlys, China has also built channels and berthing areas for large ships.

The new Pentagon report, titled “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy,” was required by Congress ahead of a 2015 defense bill.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Territorial claims in the South China Sea by country
2. The amount of land China has reclaimed compared to other countries
3. How much land China’s has reclaimed, according to the Pentagon
4. China constructing an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef
5. China building channels and berthing areas for ships

VOICEOVER (in English):

“The Spratly Islands are a string of islands in the South China Sea simultaneously claimed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia.”

“According to the Pentagon, compared to the reclamation efforts of other claimants combined over the past 40 years, the amount of land China has reclaimed within the last two years is 17 times greater.”

“Initial reports that China has reclaimed 2,000 acres since December 2013 are wrong, the Pentagon report says, and the real amount is around 2,900 acres.”

“On Fiery Cross Reef, China has built an airstrip...”

“...and at many of the reclamation sites in the Spratlys, China has also built berthing areas for large ships.”

SOURCES: Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/21/us-southchinasea-china-pentagon-idUSKCN0QQ0S920150821
http://www.wsj.com/articles/pentagon-says-china-has-stepped-up-land-reclamation-in-south-china-sea-1440120837
http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-chinas-land-reclamation-in-south-china-sea-grows-pentagon-report-2015-8