07:00 GMT24 January 2021
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    According to a report submitted to the US Congress by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China’s military buildup in a key international waterway continued in 2016.

    An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Taiwanese military plane shows the view of Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, at the South China Sea, March 23, 2016
    © REUTERS / Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via Reuters/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — China’s military buildup in a key international waterway continued in 2016, with the construction of three new runways and reinforced aircraft hangers on reefs located halfway between Vietnam and the Philippines, according to a report submitted to the US Congress by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    "China continued building military and civilian infrastructure on the 3,200 acres of artificial islands it has created since 2013, completing runways and building reinforced aircraft hangars on three outposts," the report stated on Wednesday.

    The latest projects will improve China’s ability to detect and track foreign maritime forces and fishing boats passing through the South China Sea, an international waterway used by nearly half of the world’s commercial shipping, the report explained.

    The report also noted Chinese tests of new space launch vehicles and launches of additional intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and navigation satellites in 2016.

    In addition, the report explained that since late 2015, China has participated in 11 major bilateral or multilateral exercises with other nations.

    The Commission was established by the US Congress in 2000 to assess Chinese economic and military developments in reports for lawmakers, government officials and private industry.


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