In recent years, China has laid claim to the South China Sea with increasing fierceness, challenging the counterclaims of neighboring states and confronting their fishing boats on the open water. But new satellite photos have provided the most dramatic evidence yet of just how aggressively China is acting to establish a sphere of influence in the South China Sea and reduce the possibility of a diplomatic resolution of the territorial disputes there.
The photographs, which are available on the web, were taken by DigitalGlobe, a commercial satellite imagery provider, and analyzed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. They show that since January China has moved with alarming speed to dredge huge quantities of sand from around Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands and use it to create a more substantial land mass. A few existing shacks were replaced by buildings, and what appears to be an amphibious warship has been seen patrolling nearby.
Of course, China just sees these as new subdivisions in the city of Sansa!