Wednesday, December 26, 2012

China to invest US$1.6bn in disputed South China Sea islands

Yongxing, where Sansha City was established
Through investments in infrastructure, China is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to its sovereignty claims 

In a move that risks increasing regional tensions, China yesterday announced it will invest more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) to build infrastructure on disputed islands in the South China Sea and to strengthen marine law enforcement in the region. 

Citing Hainan Province Governor Jiang Dingzhi (蔣定之), the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Herald reported that China would build an airport, piers and other important infrastructure on islands administered by Sansha (三沙), a prefecture-level city under Hainan’s jurisdiction that was created in July following approval by the State Council in June. 

Located on Woody Island (Yongxing Island, 永興島), the largest island in the Paracels (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) and 350km southeast of Hainan, Sansha “administers” more than 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs and their surrounding waters in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), Macclesfield Bank (Zhongsha Islands, 中沙群島) and the Paracel chains. 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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