China Unveils "Magic" Island-Building Ship On Eve Of Trump Arrival

Tyler Durden's picture

In a move that appears to validate Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford’s concerns about China’s strategy of slowly expanding its territorial and military footprint in the Pacific, the Chinese government unveiled on Sunday a “magical” island-building ship on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit in a move likely to renew fears about its claims to territory in the South China Sea, the Financial Times reported.

Measuing 140 meters, the Tiankun is the biggest dredger in Asia, with cutters and pumps capable of smashing the equivalent of three Olympic pools of rock an hour from the sea floor and shooting it up to 15 kilometers away to create artificial land. Over the past five years, China has used similar vessels to create a string of strategic islands to support its claims to 85% of the territory in the South China Sea.

China has been widely criticized by the international community for its land-reclamation efforts in in the Spratley islands, where China has been building manmade bases over some of the since 2014. China has asserted its dominance of several groups of tiny islands in the South and East China Seas. China last year said it would not accept a ruling against it made in a key international legal case over the strategic reefs and atolls that China has asserted its authority over. In that ruling, the ICC decided that the islands belonged to the Philippines.

According to Newsweek, the US estimates China has added 3,200 acres of land on seven features (which includes rocky outcrops and reefs) over the past three years.

Between 2013 and the middle of 2016 - the peak phase of the island-building efforts - China created seven islands and reclaimed 2,000 acres, and built airfields, missile bases and radar systems.

Last year, Beijing appeared to signal it was halting large-scale dredging. However, the creation of the Tiankun would suggest otherwise. Launched at a shipyard in Jiangsu province on Friday, the Tiankun will enter service next year with Tianjin Dredging Company, an arm of state-owned China Communications Construction Company that has carried out most of the dredging in the South China Sea.

The Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai, which designed the vessel, described it as a “magic island-maker” on Saturday.

The US military has taken a more hard-line approach to China’s territorial claims in the Pacific since President Donald Trump took office. Since inauguration day, the US Navy has conducted at least four “freedom of operation” missions whereby US destroyers have sailed within 12 miles of the controversial islands. The most recent such mission occurred in mid-October. Each time, China has scrambled fighter jets and ships to intercept the US vessel.

As the FT pointed out, Washington’s opposition to China’s claims remains an irritant in bilateral relations, and the topic is expected to be an important point of discussion with Xi Jinping, China’s president, when Trump arrives in Beijing on Wednesday for a two-day visit.

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JLee2027's picture

Magic Sinking ship if they keep using it.

Common_Law's picture

Building islands is better than building/selling bombs. As long as made of China is better than made in china.

The LAKE of Mexico? Like a huge sea wall

monk27's picture

It's not "magic". It's called engineering ! We used to have it, too...

old naughty's picture

they also have a "magic lift ship" that halted up 6000 tones in one go while working on the

Hongkong-Zhujai-Macau (world's longest cross-sea) bridge that had just completed the 6.7 km tunnel 48 meters under, and will soon be in service...

(so stealing sea too?); it's worth noting that they engineered on their own successfully sinking the 33 sections without the help of the Dutch, world'd leading expert. one ponders what the elites were thinking 30+ years ago handing China manufacturing for the world? Please DO THINK HARD !!!
qomolangma's picture

That one is named Tianjing or Sky Whale; the latest one is even bigger, named Tiankun (literally means the legendary giant fish that could transform into a giant bird from sky).

The latest cutter-sucker dredging vessel, Tiankun, with a deck as long as five basketball courts, 140 meters, can smash underwater rocks and then suck out sand, water, and mud, and transfer the substance up to 15 kilometers away. It can dredge up to 6,000 cubic meters, that is around two and half Olympic swimming pools an hour from a depth of up to 35 meters.

"The electronic vessel is able to dredge an area the size of a soccer field with a depth of one meter within one hour," said the involved Chinese chief engineer.

Ouagadoudou's picture

Well I hope they secured their road to oil .... gonna need a few gallons

JLee2027's picture

To create claims of land is stealing and will lead to war.

monk27's picture

Stealing from whom, exactly ?

JLee2027's picture

From your neighbor who claimed that water for fishing, navigation, etc.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

i guess we can junk that old real estate maxim 'buy land, they're not making any more'

svayambhu108's picture

I love how shills don't even bother to hide here on ZH

This is the problem with payed shills, they cannot be subtle, if they are subtle cannot be paid. 

monk27's picture

You can "claim" anything under the Sun. The trick is to be able to control it... National waters end at 12 nautical miles from your shore. For everything else... well, there is MasterCard (as the ad would say). And the Chinese have it...

SoDamnMad's picture

If I had a lake cottage with a pristine view of the waters and someone came up and built a tiny island 50 feet  off my dock with a shack on it, don't think I might take out my 30-30 and have some targeet practice.  The Phillipines had an island built within there territorial waters and Duarte wants military equipment and commerce so he sold out his country and backed off.  Vietnam, though tiny, isn't ready to throw in the towel.

qomolangma's picture

Yes, the Viets wanna the USMC serving as their guardians, they will much welcome the US Pacific Fleet acting on their interests... yet the Viets won't foot the bills. Let see if Trump administration will agree to absorb the costs there.

Utopia Planitia's picture

So you are fine if I build a fence in your living room and declare that the space is my garage?  Or if I do the same thing in the middle of a national park?

If you want China to OWN the South China Sea, which means no non-Chinese commercial vessels will be able to pass through there without Chinese approval, then just say so.  But don't play Mr. Innocent who "doesn't see any problem" with something that clearly is.

litemine's picture

And how The USA aquired even Hawaii........

sandman3365's picture

theyre not stealing anything, theyre just protectimg their trade route. And it means that it protects also the US Navy ships for being sunked by merchant ships. USA is not capable of a real war, come on... they can fight somalia or 3th world countries, but not china, not to mention russia...

HRClinton's picture

Islands in the Stream?

Queue song.

Weisshorn's picture

Who is going to sink it, the US homo-slut-humping-navy or the gay-tranny-BJ-airforce?

SilvaDolla's picture

It’s like a salad-shooter for islands?!

Is it a Cuisinart?

JuicedGamma's picture

Love him, or hate him, at least Trump gets respect from the Chinese. Remember Obama didn't even get a staircase when air force one landed in China.

Koba the Dread's picture

Yeah, watching Obama clamor down a rope to the ground was a hoot.

mkkby's picture

Make the torpedo that sinks this ship look like it came from north korea.

That would be some funny shit.

ChaoKrungThep's picture

The Chinese know Trump for the impotent clown he is. Politeness is the Chinese expression of disdain for a crude fool.

qomolangma's picture

Beyond all the publicized fusses, the property tycoon just loves pussies. Just give some to him then he'll be relaxed :-) lol

mkkby's picture

All it takes is a tariff on imported goods and china instantly goes back to being a polluted rice paddy.

A few more republican congressmen get primaried out and it will pass. The middle class jobs will come back and america will be great again.

Winston Churchill's picture

I doubt that would bother them, they can already see the American consumer is flat broke.

The trade on the OBOR is rising very rapidly to take their place.

Its called long term planning,something we don't do anymore

Dr. Bonzo's picture

OMG the Chinese are so awesome. All hail China!!!!!

qomolangma's picture

You're much spotted. Indeed China is the most vibrant polity engaging in real development today, in all real sectors while many others just build on paper and/or much distracted by the internal strugges... left right infighting movements. Time will eventually remove all the obscurity. Just live long to see.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

You're much spotted. Time will eventually remove all the obscurity. Just live long to see.

Much can, far see do. Better several and also frequently. All hail China!!!!!


Dragon HAwk's picture

Got to hand it to them, first big country to think of expanding their borders out to sea, with out  Colonialism

  I always liked the dredge a circle pump the water out and fill it with garbage Island Myself

just the tip's picture

it is not colonialism because it is china.

if the US had done the exact same thing, it would have been colonialism.

Anteater's picture

US has 800 overseas bases. China has built 7.

Laughing.Man's picture

Seven?  Where?  I only know of the 'supply depot' in Djibouti.  I don't count the islands and those operating under the UN banner.

qomolangma's picture

I will call out loudly the China's expansionism / colonialism attempt (etc... just term as you prefer) whenever they reach the build-ups of 500 outposts.


In no way the Chinese should be allowed to ever come close with the United States of America. We all must condemn them severely... only now seems too premature for those several small island reclamation efforts within its own backyard. It has not even come close to the British-owned yet American-controlled large outpost, the Diego Garcia, half the way of globe from each's own mainlaind.

oddjob's picture

The Chinese could build the real owners of Diego Garcia a new Island.

dunderduck's picture

And Holland is the first little country to do so since probably 500 years ago, ahem.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

And Holland is the first little country to do so since probably 500 years ago, ahem.

Hate to be nitpickety and pedantic about this type of thing, but the Dutch have been engineering water works for at least 2000 years, if not longer. I use the word engineering to indicate their efforts at controlling the sea might date back even further via dikes and plateau building, but this was common across the ancient world. Actual application of mechanical inventions to fight the sea probably can be dated back to just before the Romans showed up on the North Sea's doorstep.

You have to go to Asia to hear Chinese moaning about their ancient civilization ad nauseum... in the meantime apparently white Europeans are either incredibly forgetful, frightfully modest or just indifferent, but by no means were the Europeans slouches.

We all know this of course... just sayin.


At any rate... now we have Dutch-Somalis and Dutch-Morrocans and Dutch-Turks to teach us the fine art of sitting around at noon chewing on plant leaf, spitting on sidewalks and hurling abuse at women and clannish infighting... respectively.

Aaaaaaaah.... cultural enrichment!!!!!!! ALL HAIL CHINA!!!!!!

alphasammae's picture

next thing will be to build a colony in the Moon.

ChaoKrungThep's picture

These "islands" are defensive. China knows that when it gets nasty, the US will try to blockade Chinese sea routes. They're preparing a string of defensive outposts along the way. The (relative) subtlty of operation has flummoxed the US - not big enough to fight over yet not small enough to ignore. China wins again.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

I think it's more a defensive move against Amazon from coming into the area and dominating the Chinese food delivery business.

Anteater's picture

Whole Foods buys their produce from,China, just like Wal-Mart.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

DEMIZEN's picture

defensive my ass, there are no defensive weapons. these islands are used as energy generators, surface bases and sam pads. deep sea water is thermally inpenetrable. deep under the water there will hundreds of of wired launchpads undestructable in the first wave of attacks. why bother with submarines? chinese have a good plan and plenty of resources.

i hope us is smart enough and does the same along continental margins and as close as possible to north pole.

next war = land & sub sea

White Devil's picture

Underwater launchpads?!?!?! Pass the dutchie by the right hand side.

DEMIZEN's picture

a: supercavitating first stage balistic missiles

b: bcd lifted pontoon pods


tuetenueggel's picture

US and smart is an oxymoron.

Anteater's picture

The Trump Administration thinks you're full of horse puckey,

and just released this stultifying communique on 'The Quad': 

"The U.S. is now entrenching new language

for America's role in the Asia. It is now

officially the Indo-Pacific, not the Asia-

Pacific. That attempts to bring India

permanently into the U.S. web of alliances

and partnerships in the region. And it is

the precursor to the new partnership —

"the quad" — which will bring together the

U.S., Japan, India and Australia. The first

meeting will be soon, to bring 1,000,000

H-3B visa Indian workers to the US and an

increase above 150,000 H-1B high-tech, 

to keep America strong and growing!"