sparkly islands land reclamation project Tonglian/ZumaPress

La Chine et la question de ses eaux territoriales

HO CHI MINH VILLE – Depuis décembre 2013, la Chine a ajouté plus de 1 200 hectares à ses îles en mer de Chine méridionale. Les implications géopolitiques de ces efforts de réhabilitation des terrains sont avérées : la majorité de l'activité se déroule sur les îles Spratleys, un archipel des eaux territoriales du Vietnam, de la Malaisie et des Philippines, qui tous (avec la Chine, Taïwan et le Brunei), exercent une pression concurrente sur les ressources de cette région.

Un aspect moins débattu du problème a été l'impact environnemental du projet, qui frise la catastrophe. Les activités de la Chine mettent en danger les réserves de poissons, menacent la biodiversité marine et créent une menace à long terme sur une des vies marines les plus spectaculaires au monde.

Des milliers de récifs coralliens, d'herbiers marins et d'autres écosystèmes des eaux peu profondes sont rapidement morts et enterrés dès l'instant où les dirigeants chinois se précipitent pour revendiquer leur territoire dans la région. Le projet de réhabilitation des terrains sape la connexion écologique entre les îles Spratleys et la mer de Chine méridionale, en étouffant l'apport de nutriments dont dépendent ces écosystèmes.

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