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Artificial Islands Ratchet Up China Tensions, U.S. Admiral Says

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China’s creation of more than four square kilometers (1.5 square miles) of artificial islands in the South China Sea is increasing tensions with the U.S. and its allies, according to Pacific Fleet Commander Harry Harris.

“What’s really drawing a lot of concern in the here and now is the unprecedented land reclamation currently being conducted by China,” Admiral Harris told a conference Tuesday in Canberra. “China is building artificial land by pumping sand on to live coral reefs –- some of them submerged -– and paving over them with concrete.”