Goods worth more than $5 trillion are shipped through the South China Sea every year. Under the seabed huge natural resources are expected. These key figures explain why there are always disputes between the neighbouring countries about the specific ownership claims in the 3.5 million square kilometer area. China claims almost the entire South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims in the area. China has built seven artificial islands in the Spratlys group in the South China Sea and turned them into military outposts with airfields, radars, and missile defenses. Beijing says its military facilities in the Spratlys are purely defensive and it can do what it likes on its own territory. The Philippines expressed „serious concerns“ and its foreign ministry has taken „appropriate diplomatic action“. Washington said this could raise tension and destabilize the region.