Beijing has started fresh construction work in the disputed South China Sea.
China continues to strengthen its military reach in the disputed South China Sea, starting fresh construction work in the area, the Reuters news agency reported, citing new satellite images.
According to the news agency, the images, taken from space, indicate that the authorities of the People’s Republic of China have started construction work on the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
The photos, taken by satellites of the Planet Labs private firm on March 6, allow seeing workers, clearing the territory and presumably preparing for usage a harbor on the North Island, which is part of the Seven Sisters group of islands. The works were interrupted last year due to a typhoon. As Reuters noted, in January, construction work was spotted on other islands of the archipelago.
According to a mainland security expert at the Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, Zhang Baohui, facilities on the Paracel Islands will allow Beijing to strengthen its position in the South China Sea and secure the country’s positions in the most strategically important Spratly archipelago.
A representative of the Chinese Defense Ministry told Reuters that he does not know about any works on the islands.
A news agency’s source in Washington did not confirm the reports on construction on the disputed islands, but noted that such works are consistent with China’s policies in the region.
China and a number of countries in the region, including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, have disagreements on maritime boundaries and zones of responsibility in the South China and East China Seas. China believes that the Philippines and Vietnam consciously use support of the US to escalate tensions in the region.