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University of Baltimore Journal of International Law

Abstract

China’s rapid takeover of the South China Sea unequivocally goes against what the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas permits. China’s control has had, and will continue to have disparaging effects on neighboring countries in their shipment of supplies, food, and other materials. The reclamation of the island landmasses in dispute, the Spratly and Paracel islands, by China has grown about 50% since May 2015.1 Presently, China has built a 3,000 foot aircraft runway and reformed many of the coral reefs surrounding the islands into artificial islands for the “future” usage to place buildings and homes for future Chinese inhabitants.

The United States fears that if progress is continued, these islands will be utilized for military purposes and ultimately create instability in one of the prime commercial shipping routes.3 If China ultimately gains complete control of the South China Sea, they will control all trade and untampered access to all resources within and surrounding those islands; devastating the livelihoods of neighboring States such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

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