As exposed by Philippine government China is on the works in creating artificial islands in South China Sea inside West Philippine Sea. China is turning reefs into islands.
From evaluation of experts, there are two main reason why China is doing these reclamations in a speedy process. First, the Chinese government wants to establish a strong military facility in the said waters specially an air defense zone. Though, China can establish a military fort in West Philippine Sea, People’s Liberation Army may have a hard time in maintaining its forces due to distance from mainland China.
Second, China is trying to change the natural features of Spratly Islands in the hopes of having a 200-mile exclusive economic zone from it’s ‘artificially built islands’.
However, a clause in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) says, “Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.”
With these artificial islands completed, China has a strong advantage if military confrontation arises. However, as long as diplomacy is concerned China will find a hard time in winning the battle, for these intents from China are in violation of Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and UNCLOS.