World View: China Builds More Man-Made Islands in the South China Sea

South China Sea Military
AP Photo

This morning’s key headlines from

  • China builds more man-made islands in the South China Sea
  • Pentagon would welcome Japan air patrols in the South China Sea
  • Jordan returns its ambassador to Israel

China builds more man-made islands in the South China Sea

Satellite picture of China's man-made island, November 2014 (Janes)
Satellite picture of China’s man-made island, November 2014 (Janes)

China continues to occupy regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries, and continues a massive military effort to enforce its seizures. In addition to building oil rigs and taking control of fishing grounds in other countries’ territories, China has been building man-made islands to use as military bases and landing strips. China has claimed the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China’s claims are rejected by almost everyone outside of China, and China refuses to submit them to the United Nations court deciding such matters, apparently knowing that they would lose. Instead, China is becoming increasingly belligerent militarily, annexing other nations’ territories, and militarizing the entire sea.

China has already created a new island nearly 2 miles long and several hundred yards wide. China is rapidly building five man-made islands from tiny reefs and shoals in the South China Sea. These islands will be used for military operations, including combat and support aircraft, when the inevitable day arrives that China’s seizures of other countries’ territories lead to a military confrontation that could spiral into war. LA Times and Janes Defense Weekly

Pentagon would welcome Japan air patrols in the South China Sea

With China becoming more and more militarily belligerent in the South China Sea, a Pentagon official said that the U.S. would welcome Japanese air patrols over the South China Sea. According to Admiral Robert Thomas:

I think allies, partners and friends in the region will look to the Japanese more and more as a stabilizing function. In the South China Sea, frankly, the Chinese fishing fleet, the Chinese coastguard and the (navy) overmatch their neighbors. I think that JSDF (Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces) operations in the South China Sea makes sense in the future.

However, the State Dept. and the Pentagon may be in disagreement over this idea. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said, “We’re not aware of any plans or proposals for Japan to patrol the South China Sea… It sounds like reports aren’t accurate.” Reuters and Japan Times

Jordan returns its ambassador to Israel

On Monday, Jordan announced that its country’s ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat would be returning to Jordan’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

Obeidat was recalled three months ago at a time of violence in the Temple Mount / Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Temple Mount is the holiest site in the Jewish religion, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. When violence forced Israel to shut down access to the Al-Aqsa mosque for two days, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas called it “tantamount to a declaration of war,” and Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel. Jordan had said that Israeli practices in Jerusalem were undermining 1994 peace treaty between the two countries. The peace treaty had reaffirmed Jordanian oversight of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

In its announcement on Monday, Jordan’s government says it noted a “positive development” in Israel’s stance as 65,000 worshippers now pray in al-Aqsa Mosque on Fridays. Middle East Eye and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, South China Sea, Pentagon, State Department, Japan, Jordan, Israel, Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Walid Obeidat
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