Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Johnson South Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Hughes Reef, and Gaven Reef

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Notwithstanding the protest by smaller Asian nations over the swift pace that China has been constructing facilities in disputed islands in the South China Sea, Beijing again flexed its military muscle by claiming a seventh reef.

The news of another China claim comes from the Philippines, one of the Southeast Asian nations that is contesting ownership of the group of islands in the key maritime route.

News of China’s expansion came just a day after the military magazine, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, published satellite photos of infrastructure development on Hughes Reef, a 75,000 square meters of land that China claimed in August.

Commenting on China’s power trip in the region, a Western diplomat notes that the reclamations are larger and more ambitious than previously thought, and concedes that “On many different levels it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to counter China in the South China Sea as this develops,” quotes Reuters.

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