In November, the Pentagon released its annual China Military Power Report, which included a number of maps to illustrate its updated assessments of the Chinese military’s capabilities and reach.
One of those maps offered a detailed depiction of the Spratly Islands — one of the tensest areas of the South China Sea, broad swathes of which are disputed by China and its smaller neighbors.
Six different countries claim all or some of the islands and features in the Spratlys. Thanks to China’s land-reclamation and fortification efforts over the past decade, the islands it controls there have become the best-armed and most imposing.
China shows no signs of reducing its buildup or shrinking its presence, adding even more complexity to one of the most dynamic regions in the world.