Not content with building artificial islands in the South China Sea to expand its influence in the area, China has claimed that the Texas-size floating mass of plastic, sludge and refuse known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is actually Chinese territory. “We have examined the items in the patch and have determined that most are Chinese products exported overseas,” said a spokesman for Beijing. “Therefore we claim the patch as our territory, which we will use as a base for building airstrips, harbors, and other facilities. We warn nearby countries that this new Chinese territory includes fishing, mining and mineral rights for two hundred miles in each direction.” Nations in the South Pacific, including Japan, Korea, and the Philippines are rushing to file lawsuits in International courts to dispute China’s claims. “We are afraid China will work to solidify the Pacific Garbage Patch and build missile bases, submarine bases and other military installations to threaten the area,” said a spokesman for the Japanese government.