|Benjie Batanes |||Jul 01, 2015 07:58 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images/Hulton Archive) Satellite image of the Lingshui Military Airfield on the Southeastern Coast of Hainan Island in the South China Sea. China's neighbours and the United States, see the ongoing land building project as a means in which the Chinese government can use to force its claim. The U.S. has reported that China currently has two large air strips inside the disputed area.
A Chinese government spokesperson has announced the completion of China's land building project in the disputed Spratly (Nansha) Islands on Tuesday. The announcement by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was reportedly meant to calm other countries who also have claims to those group of islands.
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Hua, who revealed that the land reclamation work was completed many days ago, said that China will now focus on the construction of various structures that will be used for civilian and military purpose.
The U.S. government claims China was able to add 1,500 acres of new land in the disputed group of islets, according to Yahoo News.
It is known that China has land building projects on at least seven reefs scattered in the area. However, Hua did not say which reef or how many reefs have been completely filled up.
She allayed the fears of China's fellow claimant by saying that the island construction will not infringe the right of other countries to sail and fly across the South China Sea.
However, last month, a U.S. military plane that flew close to one of the reefs being reclaimed received numerous calls from Chinese forces to withdraw from the area, according to Inquirer.net.
China is insisting that it holds sovereign rights over the whole South China Sea. A claim disputed by its Asian neighbors, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam as well as Brunei.These countries and the United States see the ongoing land building project as a ploy by China to enforce its claim of ownership of the area. The U.S. has reported that China currently has two large air strips inside the disputed area.
The South China Sea is thought to hold vast reserves of natural resources such oil and gas. Large numbers of commercial ships sail through it waters, which contains plenty of fish for commercial fishing.
Ruan Zongze, who works for a government think tank, said that the announcement was made to show that China is following its own schedule to achieve its goal in the South China Sea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to visit the U.S. in September and his government does not want the land building issue to dominate the talks with his American counterpart.
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