China’s island-building activities have caused significant tensions in the South China Sea region, and they have been condemned by many of China’s neighbors. The US has also responded by conducting freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea, to challenge China’s excessive maritime claims.

Today, we’ve made an effort to uncover the motivations driving China’s island-building activities in the South China Sea. These are the reasons:

  • To expand its territory and maritime claims: China claims a large portion of the South China Sea, based on a disputed nine-dash line. By building islands, China is seeking to strengthen its territorial claims and maritime control over the region.
  • To secure access to natural resources: The South China Sea is believed to be rich in oil, gas, and other natural resources. By building islands, China is seeking to secure access to these resources and reduce its dependence on foreign imports.
  • To project military power: China has built military bases on many of the islands it has constructed in the South China Sea. These bases allow China to project military power into the region and deter potential rivals.
  • To pressure other countries in the region: China’s island-building has been seen as a way to pressure other countries in the region, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, to back down on their own territorial claims.
  • To counter US influence: The US has a strong military presence in the South China Sea, and it has been critical of China’s island-building activities. By building islands, China is seeking to counter US influence in the region and assert itself as the dominant power.

The construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea has also raised concerns about environmental damage. The dredging of sand to build the islands has destroyed coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

Overall, China’s island-building activities in the South China Sea are a complex issue with a variety of motivations. China is seeking to expand its territory, secure access to natural resources, project military power and counter US influence in the region. However, these activities have also caused significant tensions and environmental damage.