08:54 GMT14 April 2021
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    Recent satellite photos reveal that China is building up its military presence at the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea, according to media reports.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The photos collected and studied by the Center for Strategic and International Studies showed that China constructed reinforced aircraft hangars at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs, which are parts of the disputed islands, The New York Times daily newspaper reported.

    "They [hangars] are far thicker than you would build for any civilian purpose. They’re reinforced to take a strike," Gregory Poling, director of the center’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, told The New York Times.

    Such hangars can reportedly accommodate any Chinese fighter jet and even some types of bombers.

    Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

    On July 12, a UN-appointed arbitration court in the Hague ruled that there was no basis to the Beijing’s claim to extensive territories in the South China Sea, after the Philippines filed a case in January 2013 accusing Beijing of violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea by its actions in the South China Sea.


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