The seas are real estate for the colonizing in Asia, as China continues to build structures on artificial islands in disputed waters near Vietnam.

A call to halt construction from Vietnam's foreign minister and deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh is just the latest in a historical morass of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where territories and islands have long rotated hands.  

In its ongoing coverage, the Financial Times reports that construction is fomenting tensions between China, Cambodia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Last year, China also removed an oil rig from disputed waters in order to subdue violent clashes in Vietnam, although this follows a string of intimidating encroachment leading to military tensions.

In November 2014 China began construction on its own airstrip-capable island to disputed waters where its smaller neighbors Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan had already staked out their own airfields.