07:37 GMT +316 December 2018
Listen Live
    View of the part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain. (File)

    China Builds New Unidentified Structure in Disputed S China Sea - Think Tank

    © AFP 2018 / STR
    Military & Intelligence
    Get short URL
    5411

    The Paracel Islands (also known as Xisha) is one of the territories in the South China Sea over which Beijing claims sovereignty, despite protests from other regional powers and attempts by Washington to prevent China from gaining a foothold there.

    China has recently installed several structures on the Bombay Reef, which is a part of the disputed Paracel Islands archipelago in the South China Sea, the US-based think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported after studying fresh satellite images.

    READ MORE: China Building Potential Military Asset on Paracel Islands in South China Sea

    According to the think tank, a "modest new structure" built on the reef is topped by radome and solar panels, although it can't be determined with certainty what purpose it serves. The CSIS noted that the building could be used for Chinese military purposes.

    "The development is interesting given Bombay Reef's strategic location, and the possibility that the structure's rapid deployment could be repeated in other parts of the South China Sea," the report said.

    Published on 20 November 2018, the report stressed that the Bombay Reef is situated near major shipping lanes between the Paracel and Spratly Islands, the latter being another disputed group of islets claimed by China. According to the CSIS, the Chinese military could have used the position of the reefs to broaden its military radar array.

    While the Chinese Defence Ministry hasn't commented on the report, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told Reuters that there is nothing wrong with China building structures "on its own territory." Other states claiming ownership over the Paracels have also not yet commented on the report.

    The Paracel Islands are claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam and China, with the latter de-facto controlling the territory, as well as other groups of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The US opposes China's efforts to build military or other structures on the disputed territories and regularly conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea. 

    Related:

    WATCH: Two US Carriers Drill in Philippine Sea Amid Rising China Tensions
    ASEAN Does Not Want South China Sea to Become Competitive Arena - Professor
    Chinese President Calls on Philippines to Enhance Dialogue on S China Sea Issue
    Mike Pence Says Disputed South China Sea Belongs to Nobody Amid US-China Feud
    US to Push for Binding Code of Conduct on S China Sea at ASEAN Summit - Official
    Tags:
    disputed territories, military buildup, Paracel Islands, South China Sea, China
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik