02:43 GMT18 May 2021
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    Satellite imagery shows that China has completed construction on a main runway on a Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea.

    The completion of the runway will enable China to accelerate construction of the infrastructure and potentially start air patrols over the Spratly Islands

    Chinese construction workers carry on building multiple structures on the island, completing the seawall in the harbor, and creating concrete road networks, IHS Jane's Defense Weekly reported.

    The website also suggests that it looks like the Chinese have also removed topsoil along the side of the runway; “this may be the first attempts to grow food on the island or just be the start of landscaping designed to prevent erosion.”

    The runway is 3,125 meters long making it the most extensive new landmass built by China in the Spratly Islands.

    The satellite imagery of other Chinese construction sites suggests that the smaller islands at Hughes, McKennan, Johnson South, Cuateron, and Gaven reefs have been completed and communication and military hardware installed.

    Earlier the Chinese president said that China does not intend to militarize the Nansha/Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and will remain committed to keeping peace and stability in the region, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

    At the news conference, the Chinese president repeated China’s longstanding position that it has had sovereignty over the South China Sea islands “since ancient times.”

    “Relevant construction activities that China is undertaking in the Nansha [Spratly] Islands do not target or impact any country and China does not intend to pursue militarization,” China’s president said.


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