China to build on reclaimed land in South China Sea

2015-06-17 17:47
South China Sea

South China Sea

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Beijing - China's land reclamation in the South China Sea will "be completed in the upcoming days", the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, but the project has increased tensions in disputed areas.

China would now start to build facilities on the land, spokesperson Lu Kang said.

"Apart from satisfying the need of necessary military defence, the main purpose of China's construction activities is to meet various civilian demands and... better perform China's international obligations and responsibilities," he said.

Those include search and rescue, disaster prevention, scientific research, meteorological observation, environmental conservation, navigation safety and fishing management, Lu said.

China has drawn criticism for building airstrips and buildings on reefs in parts of the South China Sea far beyond its shoreline, including in territories administrated by its neighbours.

They include the Spratly Islands and the nearby Paracels, known to the Chinese as the Nansha and Xisha, respectively.

A US Department of Defence report on China's military power warned in May that emerging outposts on artificial islands could be used for surveillance systems, harbours, an airfield and logistical support.

The Pentagon report said China had reclaimed 200ha as of late December.

Lu said construction on the Nansha islands and reefs was "lawful, reasonable and justified".

He said China would "firmly work to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests at the same time as... working to resolve disputes through negotiation" with member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

Read more on:    china

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