Can there be a peaceful solution in the South China Sea?

FIVE years ago, Mischief Reef was fully underwater at high tide – a ring of submerged coral in the middle of the ocean, approximately 125 nautical miles from the Philippine island of Palawan. A further 100 nautical miles into the ocean sits Fiery Cross Reef – five years ago, the biggest dry feature was two-foot rock jutting up above the waves at high tide. These features – along with five others in the South China Sea – have since been drastically transformed by China, which has dredged millions of tons of sand and coral to build artificial islands. These islands are equipped with functional runways, radar domes and hangars. Recently, it has been reported that China has added anti-cruise ship missiles and surface to air missiles on three of the artificial islands; this despite a promise in 2015 from Xi Jinping not to do so. This move to further militarise the artificial islands was...


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