19:00 GMT +324 March 2017
    In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

    China Building Potential Military Asset on Paracel Islands in South China Sea

    © AP Photo/ Xinhua
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    Satellite footage taken on March 6 reveals the construction of a port that analysts believe could turn out to be a military installation on the North Island of the Paracels Island group.

    Focus, a Taiwanese news agency, reported that leaders in Taipei are "keeping close tabs" on the construction work, which has so far included land-clearing and "preparation for a harbor."

    China had started work on the port last year but had to restart the project after a typhoon wiped out most of the new structures, Focus noted. 

    The Paracels are simultaneously claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Beijing had previously vowed to cease land reclamation, UPI reported. Nevertheless, airstrips have been built on other islets such as Woody Island.  

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is slated to visit China on March 18 as part of an Asian tour, and the South China Sea is sure to be a hot topic during the discussions. In a Senate hearing, Tillerson said "we’re going have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands is not going to be allowed." 

    A Global Times op-ed shot back, warning that Tillerson’s "unprofessional" remarks could cause a "military clash."

    China has already built up the nearby Spratly Islands with structures featuring retractable roofs, which analysts warn could house surface-to-air missiles (SAM). As one US intelligence official said, "it is not like the Chinese to build anything in the South China Sea just to build it,” adding, "these structures resemble others that house SAM batteries." Beijing officials have denied allegations of militarization. "China carrying out normal construction activities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "is a normal right under international law for sovereign nations." 

    Chinese researchers have also conducted drilling in the South China Sea as part of an effort to create the world’s first underwater observatory platform. 


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    • avatar
      Sir Percy
      The West keep on lying that China has promised not to militarized on disputed islands. First those island have been China's for hundreds of years and never in any disputes. Secondly, I have never read from Chinese websites or publication any announcement not to militarize her islands. She can militarize as many or as few as necessary. So, don't listen to the West and don't let them put words in China's mouth.
    • siberianhusky
      Love that American arrogance " your access to those islands is not going to be allowed".
      Saying that while this is 5000 miles from theire home turf.
      Love to see the Americans trying some muscle on the Chinese just to see what there reaction will be to that.
    • avatar
      And of course gods chosen one the US would never do such a thing because they are "Exceptional"!
    • avatar
      Lâmin reply toSir Percy(Show commentHide comment)
      Sir Percy, First those island have been VIETNAM's for hundreds of years and never in any disputes - CORRECT
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