The Obama administration has been mostly silent on the Chinese efforts to build infrastructure and armaments in disputed territory. One article says the Chinese are building a “Great War of Sand” on reefs using dredges and bulldozers in areas where six Asian nations have territorial claims. Some of the new islands have helipads and anti-aircraft towers. One island that was once called “Fiery Cross Reef” can accommodate an airstrip.
The latest construction is the expansion of two islands Vietnam says it owns. Satellite images show seven new “islets” in the South China Sea. The Philippines and Vietnam have both accused China of breaking a nonbinding code of conduct agreeing “…to refrain from provocative actions in the disputed region.” Chinese officials responded by saying that the islands “…are an inherent part of China,” and that they would be used for “…military defense and for a range of civilian purposes.”
I wonder whether President Obama discussed this with the Chinese during his recent visit. We do know that global warming was an important part of his agenda. He promised that the U.S. would cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The Chinese responded with vague promises to use “…best efforts to peak emissions while boosting green energy use by 2030.” I can’t imagine what the Chinese said about Mr. Obama’s negotiating skills after he departed their country.