China was carrying out land reclamation in contested waters of the South China Sea this month, more than four weeks after saying it had stopped such activity, a US expert said Tuesday, citing recent satellite images.
The evidence of continued dredging in the Spratly archipelago could complicate a visit to the United States by Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, when US concerns about China’s assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia are expected to be high on the agenda.
Bonnie Glaser, of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said images taken in early September showed dredging activity at both Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in Spratlys.
The dredgers at Subi could be seen pumping sediment on to areas bordered by recently built sea walls and widening the channel for ships to enter waters enclosed by the reef.
Glaser said China’s activity appeared to be focused on construction for military use.
Images of Fiery Cross Reef showed a completed and freshly painted 3,000 meter runway, helipads, a radar dome, a surveillance tower and possible satellite communication facilities, she said.
Security experts say a 3,000 meter strip would be able to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft.
Full article: China continued land reclamation in sea despite ‘halt’: expert (Asia Times)