China’s aggressive island-building in the South China Sea has drawn international attention to Beijing’s expansive maritime territorial claims.
This week it also drew a caution from the head of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift who said, “ships and aircraft operating nearby these features, in accordance with international law, are subject to superfluous warnings that threaten routine commercial and military operations.”
The Chinese military has on several recent occasions radioed warning messages to both military and private air and sea craft approaching within 22 kilometers of the artificial islands. It is also rapidly expanding and building on top of at least seven formerly shallow outcroppings of reefs and rocks, some of which now have airstrips and harbors that can handle military craft.
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