China’s Latest Moves in the South China Sea

Beijing’s “Great Wall of Sand” in the South China Sea is likely to expand: a recent report in the South China Morning Post unveiled China’s intention to turn Scarborough Shoal into another island military base.

Observations by U.S. Navy vessels suggest China has been conducting survey work around the shoal, which lies roughly 200km/125 miles off of the coast of the Philippines. Island building at Scarborough Shoal is especially contentious given the ongoing UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) ownership dispute between the Philippines and China. The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision, expected in May or June, is likely to side with the Philippines and would be the first successful court ruling against Chinese island building activities.

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