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What Does China Want in the South China Sea?

China has long been keen to assert its authority in the South China Sea. But it s not the only one with a claim to the region.

China has long been keen to assert its authority in the South China Sea. In recent years, it has undertaken a huge programme of island-building to stake its claim to the region. Fiery Cross, once a tiny reef, is now a fortified airbase. And this is just one of China’s seven artificial islands in the Sea.

But China is not the only one. Bordered by seven states, many others also claim parts of the South China Sea as their own. Experts warn these hotly contested waters could be a flashpoint for conflict in 2018.

Why is the South China Sea so important to China?

(Photo: Fiery Cross. Credit: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe)

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