China's neighbors were alarmed to see it build five islands in the South China Sea earlier this year. They were equipped airstrips, ports and military supplies, and were a clear indication of China's military ambitions in the disputed region.
Scientists say the islands also pose another threat: The dredging project that created them has done massive damage to the coral reefs and aquatic life in the area. John McManus, a professor of marine biology and fisheries at the University of Miami, discusses this with Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti.
This segment aired on July 16, 2015.