China’s lighthouses in Spratlys beckon recognition from passing ships

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The Huayang lighthouse

 

 

The next time the United States sends warships by China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China, officers aboard will have to decide how, if at all, they will engage with a pair of giant lighthouses that Beijing lit up there this month.

Chinese officials say the lighthouses on Cuarteron Reef and Johnson South Reef in the disputed Spratly islands will help maritime search and rescue, navigational security and disaster relief.

Experts, diplomats and foreign naval officers say, however, the lighthouses represent a shrewd move to help buttress China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Continue reading

Reclamation by China makes Hughes Reef 200 times former size

Hughes Reef in the Spratly Islands is now 200 times its former size thanks to China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, reports the UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly. Continue reading

China Is Mass-Producing Islands To Extend Its Strategic Borders

A dramatic change is taking place in the South China Sea where, since the beginning of this year, Beijing has created at least five new islands by dredging rock and sand and pumping it into reefs to form new land. By doing so, the Chinese are sending a blunt message to its neighbors and the U.S.: Keep out.

As a BBC News special report notes, China’s island building is aimed at addressing what it views as a serious strategic deficit:

In 2012 the Communist Party reclassified the South China Sea as a “core national interest”, placing it alongside such sensitive issues as Taiwan and Tibet. It means China is prepared to fight to defend it.

This is confirmed by Prof Yan Xuetong of Beijing’s Tsinghua University— a pro-government academic well known for presenting the Communist Party’s view to the outside world.

Continue reading

PLA may build airfield on disputed South China Sea island

China, aided by the People’s Liberation Army Navy, may soon build a military facility on the disputed Johnson South Reef to expand its scope in the region, according to Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese. Continue reading