News Brief

To Combat China's Expansion, Vietnam Increases Pace Of Land Reclamation In South China Sea To Levels Never Seen Before

Swarajya Staff

Jun 13, 2024, 03:27 PM | Updated 04:52 PM IST

Barque Canada Reef of Vietnam in South China Sea has grown twice the size in the last six months.
Barque Canada Reef of Vietnam in South China Sea has grown twice the size in the last six months.

Vietnam has significantly increased the speed of its land reclamation of its outposts in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (SCS).

According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC, Vietnam has upped the pace of expansion at its outposts on the Spratly Islands.

In the last six months, it has reclaimed land equal to what it did in the last two years.

It has reclaimed 692 acres of land across 10 different outposts in six months compared to 404 acres and 342 acres in the last two years, respectively.

The Spratly Islands is a chain of islands in the SCS that is disputed by several countries including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

So far, the Chinese have reclaimed the largest area of land with the biggest outpost — Mischief Reef — followed by Subi Reef and Fiery Cross Reef , which together cover around 4,650 acres. This is twice the amount, of 2,360 acres, that Vietnam has reclaimed.

The infrastructure on the Chinese reclaimed islands, however, is on a much larger and more advanced scale than the Vietnamese infrastructure.

At all their three largest outposts, namely Mischief, Subi, and Fiery Cross Reef, the Chinese have constructed 3,000-metre-long runways that can house bombers, radar towers, multi-storeyed administrative buildings, and elaborate defences.

The Vietnamese, on the other hand, have only one outpost, Barque Canada Reef, that has a 1,300-metre-long runway. It is the largest reef of Vietnam in the Spratly Islands , which in the last six months has grown from 238 acres to 412 acres.

Apart from the Barque Canada Reef, other reefs like Discovery Reef (expanded by 102 acres), South Reef (52 acres), Namyit Island (41 acres), and Pearson Reef (37 acres) have also seen significant expansion.

With this increased rate of expansion the Vietnamese hopes to combat Chinese aggressive expansion in the SCS.


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