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

China to Extend Military Reach, Build Lighthouses in Disputed Waters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China outlined a strategy to boost its naval reach on Tuesday and held a groundbreaking ceremony for two lighthouses in disputed waters, developments likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing’s maritime ambitions.

In a policy document issued by the State Council, the Communist-ruled country’s cabinet, China vowed to increase its “open seas protection”, switching from air defense to both offense and defense, and criticized neighbors who take “provocative actions” on its reefs and islands.

China has been taking an increasingly assertive posture over recent years in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where it has engaged in extensive land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago. Continue reading