China’s military buildup in the South China Sea is ‘beyond anything previously seen’

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China’s rapid claim on contested islands in the South China Sea is beyond anything seen previously and raises legitimate questions about Beijing’s intentions in the region, the secretary of the Australian defence department, Dennis Richardson, said.

Richardson told a Senate estimates committee on Monday that the military buildup on China’s reclamation program in the South China Sea “dwarfs” what other nations in the region have done previously.

“The land reclamation activity by China in the South China Sea has been at a pace and scale in the last two years beyond anything we have previously seen. It dwarfs what the other claimant states have done, and the size of the land reclamation does raise questions about its purpose,” Richardson said.

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