China Accused of Large Military Buildup In The South China Sea

    Photo: AP Photo

    The Facts

    • Adm. John Aquilino, the US Indo-Pacific commander, said Sun. that China has fully militarized at least three artificial islands in the South China Sea, adding that the past 20 yrs has seen the largest military buildup since WWII by China.

    • He stated that Beijing has deployed missile systems and fighter jets on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Fiery Cross, which form part of the Spratly archipelago, one of the world's most hotly contested regions.

    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    The US is attempting to justify military actions in the South China Sea by accusing China of militarizing the region. Chinese sovereignty over islands in its own territory allows Beijing to build infrastructure and defense facilities under international law. America is undermining the situation in the South China Sea to prevent ASEAN countries from having a good relationship with China.

    Anti-China narrative

    As Beijing makes the most broad and flagrant excessive maritime claims in the world, the US has to be active in protecting the rule-based order. Freedom of navigation has long been protected by the US and it's crucial to America's global leadership. The Freedom of Navigation Program has challenged illegal claims under international law for over four decades.

    Establishment split



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