Beijing’s South China Sea projects ‘highly disruptive’ to local ecosystems


The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said on April 13 that “China’s massive reclamation activities are causing irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea.” It also said that the destruction of coral reef systems resulting from Beijing’s land reclamation projects is estimated to lead to economic losses to coastal states valued at $100 million annually.

Recently published satellite images show that China is quickly reclaiming land around a submerged reef within an area the Philippines views as its exclusive economic zone. Reclamation is well advanced on six other reefs in the Spratlys. Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei and triggering territorial disputes.

In a DW interview, David Rosenberg, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University (ANU), talks about the impact the building projects and territorial disputes are having on the ecology and about how the international community should react to China’s ambitions in the region.

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