China is currently conquering the south Asian sea by building artificial islands, from which it will project its military power.
China's ultimate goal is to annex the whole South China Sea, nearly 1.35 million square miles claimed by China without legal merit and which belongs to six other nations.
The South China Sea includes some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and fisheries. Critically important mineral resources, including oil, are thought to be there in large quantities as well.
China has even go as far as closing the air space around It's artificial islands, which are located in disputed waters, threatening to shoot down any aircraft that will come near them.
Chinese expansion in the South China Sea is bringing conflict between Beijing and its neighbours – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam – closer than it has been for decades. Vietnam has fortified several islands it controls, while Japan has been publicly rebuked by Beijing over its 'interference' in the sea – most of which China claims. The Philippines has called for "restraint and sobriety" as its own dispute with Beijing rumbles on.
The likelihood is that while China will continue its sabre-rattling in the South China Sea, it is unlikely to push its neighbours so far that a regional war could break out and trigger a Sino-US conflict, but experts increasingly urge both Washington and Beijing to be aware of the costs – if only to deter them further from provoking a conflict that neither sides want.