China’s Ministry of Transport held a completion ceremony for the construction of the Huayang and Chigua Lighthouses on Huayang Reef, built on disputed Nansha (Spratly) island territory. The ceremony has marked the start of the operation of the two lighthouses.
The two lighthouses, as the first civil aids to navigation in Nansha waters, will greatly improve navigational conditions and reduce navigational risks and accidents by providing route guidance, safety information and emergency rescue and other public services to passing vessels, according to an official government statement.
The South China Sea is an important maritime lane of communication connecting China and the rest of the world as well as a critical maritime corridor linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This, and the rich resources sitting underneath the ocean floor, are the primary reasons that China has accelerated the development of military and civilian structures in these disputed waters, as China’s maritime neighbors argue.
These structures will reinforce China’s claims to these waters, which extend across the bulk of the South China Sea and compete with territorial assertions made by as many as five other countries. As well, they will undoubtedly maintain or increase tensions with China’s neighbors.
Full article: Two lighthouses in Spratlys solidify China’s territorial stake (Want China Times)