In a disturbing report, China is militarizing and increasing the land size of the Fiery Cross Reef, an area in the Spratly Islands, which is a highly contested area in the South China Sea.
The fact that China is able to get away with this is nothing short of amazing. Other Asian countries are basically looking the other way or not paying any attention while China, the country with the largest standing army on earth, is militarizing an area near the contested area and increasing its land size so as to station more military troops in the area.
According to the report, China has increased the area by 11x, growing from .08 square kilometers to .96 square kilometers. In addition, China put about 200 army troops in charge of the area.
The scariest part of this whole report isn't that China is militarizing an area near the contested area, but that it's doing so without any real trouble. The Philippines seems to be the one who's doing the most at contesting China — releasing photographs last year to show China's effect on the seafloor and later asking a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for a ruling. Still, it doesn't seem to be enough to stop China from constructing a formidable military base in a contested area. More Asian countries and more coverage are needed to slow down the militarization of the South China Sea, otherwise diplomacy will be even more difficult when military options are involved.
What's to stop China from doing something similar elsewhere in the region?