Thursday, March 16, 2017

China expands construction works in disputed S. China reefs : reports

China has allegedly begun fresh construction work on one of the South China Sea islets, new satellite images show. According to an assessment of the imagery, China might be building a new large port on the disputed Paracel Islands.

The photos, taken on March 6 by the satellite imaging company Planet Labs, presumably show land clearing and the early stages of construction work for what might become a military harbor on North Island, according to Reuters. Building work on the new facility is believed to have been set back by a typhoon last year.

Despite the activity being recorded on satellite imagery, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said it was “not familiar” with any work at North Island.

“What needs to be stressed is that the Xisha (Paracel) Islands are China’s inherent territory,” the Ministry said after Taipei Times sought comment.

North Island is one of the numerous small coral islands and reefs in the contested archipelago in the South China Sea, where China is in territorial disputes with several other countries.

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