According to a commentary that China Review News recently published, China’s "Maritime Silk Road" is not only an economic development plan, but also a strategic solution to breaking the U.S.’ tight control of the Strait of Malacca.
Since the U.S. stationed war ships in Singapore to control this world cargo center, China’s best counter solution is to build a deepwater port in the South China Sea, changing that area into another "Singapore" and China’s future international transportation hub.
"China can build natural deepwater ports there because the several dozen coral reefs that it controls are relatively close to each other. They can thus be used to build cities over the sea. The Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands) can be the South China Sea’s administrative service center; Dongsha Island can be the production center; and the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands) can be the cargo center, settlement center, and the tourism center."
China has conducted large scale infrastructure construction (building airports and harbors on top of coral reefs) in the Spratly Islands area. Some important harbor cities have started to show up and take shape. China’s land creation by dumping sand and earth into the ocean is not just for fishing; nor is it just for oil and gas extraction. It is to build a future economic growth point for China.
"As China builds more and more airports on those coral reef islands and converts more and more coral reef islands into natural deepwater ports, China’s South China Sea region will replace Singapore as the world’s logistics center. The Chinese government will follow the momentum to set up financial service institutions there to serve the world’s cargo transportation enterprises. The South China Sea will no longer be a quiet ocean. … It will become the most developed area in the world."
"Besides speeding up the infrastructure development, China should create new policies to encourage the development of the South China Sea region, for example, building it as a world’s offshore center and encouraging more companies to register there. The South China Sea should also be the world’s largest duty-free zone and largest free trade zone."
Source: China Review News, February 21, 2015