The creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea is leading to tensions between its bordering countries. The waterway is a key global trade route, rich in energy and fisheries resources, and a haven for coral and other wildlife. In recent years some 2,000 acres of new land has emerged from its waters, much of it belonging to China. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, each lay claim to parts of the sea, but Beijing controls the vast majority and its robust attitude towards building new islands has caused fears about Chinese dominance and the risk of armed conflict.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the USA is taking an active in interest, as can been seen in the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, whose website shows that China is not the only country in the developing new islands in the disputed sea.
For more on China’s island factory, check this special report from the BBC which covers the people, places and politics at stake.