By Liu Xiaobo, Director of Center for Maritime Studies, Grandview Institution
Nansha Islands is the southernmost island group among the islands in the South China Sea. A total of 164 geographically separate islands, reefs, sandbars, dark sands and dark beaches have been announced by name. At present, in addition to eight islands and reefs, including Taiping Island, Yongshun Reef, Zhubi Reef, Meji Reef, Chigua Reef, Dongmen Reef, Huayang Reef, and Nanxun Reef, which are garrisoned by the Chinese and Taiwanese authorities, 43 other islands and reefs are occupied by Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. In recent years, China's land-blowing projects and deployment of related defensive military facilities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea based on the consideration of maintaining national sovereignty and security have been hyped by Western media as an example of China's threat theory. The resulting increased involvement of the United States and other extraterritorial countries in South China Sea affairs, especially military involvement, has further worsened the maritime security situation around China. But what the Western media has deliberately ignored is the fact that Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have continued land expansion, facility construction and military deployment activities on the encroached islands and reefs in the Spratly Islands over the past four decades. It is in response to such security threats that China has embarked on related construction activities. Although these countries do not have the same overall investment as China, they have encroached on most of the best natural islands and reefs in the Spratlys and are uniquely positioned to garrison and build on them. Based on the latest public information sources, this study compares and analyzes the construction of the encroached islands and reefs in the Spratly Islands by Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. It is intended to reveal the current situation of encroachment on the sovereignty of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea of China, as well as to demonstrate an important factor affecting the changing security situation in the South China Sea.
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