China Continues Building in Contested South China Sea

China Continues Building in Contested South China Sea”

China issued a warning to Australia after Australian troops staged a large-scale naval exercise in the South China Sea.

Chinese activity has involved work on facilities covering 72 acres (29 hectares) of the Spratly and Paracel islands, territory contested with several other Asian nations, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A USA think tank uncovers evidence of China's latest building projects in the heavily contested South China Sea. "Beijing remains committed to advancing the next phase of its build-up -construction of the infrastructure necessary for fully-functioning air and naval bases on the larger outposts".

This was despite Beijing's move to pursue diplomatic talks with rival claimants in Southeast Asia in a bid to ease tensions, the think tank also said.

It said on Thursday there has been construction of hangars, underground storage, missile shelters, radar arrays and other facilities.

Smaller-scale work had continued in the Paracel Islands, including a new helipad and wind turbines on Tree Island and two large radar towers on Triton Island. China has also started work on a new communications array on the north side of the outpost. China says the man-made islands in the Spratlys, which are equipped with airstrips and military installations, are mainly for civilian purposes and to boost safety for fishing and maritime trade.

There was a lull in South China Sea tensions as Beijing sought stability during the Communist Party Congress in October and the USA focused on North Korea, Glosserman said.

China Continues Building in Contested South China Sea

But President Rodrigo Duterte has set aside the tribunal's verdict in exchange for warmer ties and billion dollars' worth of Chinese investments.

A report from the Global Times online said some of the drills took place in the South China Sea in late September.

This comes as the country enters talks with several other Southeast Asian nations to establish a new code of conduct for the waterway, which one official has described as "one of the most risky worldwide flashpoints".

A year ago an worldwide court in the Hague invalidated the legal basis for much of China's island reclamation work, without making any ruling on the territorial disputes themselves.

Beijing is ramping up construction work in the South China Sea despite agreeing to establish a code of conduct for the disputed region, new research has showed.

China's Navy chief has told his Australian counterpart that Australian actions in the past year have "run counter to the general trend of peace and stability" in the disputed South China Sea, according to China's state media.

The report said the work at Triton was "especially important", given that Triton is the southwestern-most of the Paracels and that the surrounding waters had been the site of recent incidents between China and Vietnam, as well as multiple U.S. freedom of navigation operations, which the U.S. Navy has used to assert what it sees as its right to free passage in worldwide waters.

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