Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — China said on Thursday it has begun operating weather monitoring stations in the artificial islands in the South China Sea.
“These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference on November 1.
Lu stressed that China’s constructions on the reefs aim to provide “public goods and services” to the countries in the region.
“This is what we primarily wanted to achieve when we started these works on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and it is also a solemn pledge China has made to countries in the region and to the international community,” he said.
China’s neighboring countries, including some Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines, have called out China’s reclamation and militarization of islands in the global waterway. Beijing has since asserted its rights over most of the region through a nine-dash line claim, amid ongoing territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.