China building 'Great Wall of Sand' in South China Sea

China building 'great wall of sand' in South China Sea:
China's land reclamation is creating a "great wall of sand" in the South China Sea, a top US official says, leading to "serious questions" on its intentions.

US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris made the comments in a speech in Australia on Tuesday night.

He said by pumping sand on to coral reefs and adding concrete, China had created "over 4 sq km (1.5 sq miles) of artificial landmass".

China has overlapping claims with neighbours in the South China Sea.

It has been reclaiming land in contested waters - something it said last year was "totally justified" as it had "sovereignty" over the area.

In recent months images have emerged of Chinese construction on reefs in the Spratly Islands to create artificial islands with facilities that could potentially be for military use, including an air strip.

Several nations, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan, also claim ownership of territory in the Spratly Islands.

Adm Harris described China's land reclamation as "unprecedented".

"China is building artificial land by pumping sand on to live coral reefs - some of them submerged - and paving over them with concrete. China has now created over 4 sq km (1.5 sq miles) of artificial landmass," he said.

"China is creating a great wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers over the course of months."

He said that considering China's "pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states" in the South China Sea, the scope of the building raised "serious questions about Chinese intentions".

File under: Chinese goods are not cheap.

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