When completed, the satellite network would be able to monitor the South China Sea around the clock and analyse every object in the waters in detail, including the structure of vessels, Hainan Daily quoted Li Xiaoming, from the Sanya Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, as saying.
The plan surfaced on Friday after a US think tank released satellite images showing what it said was more Chinese infrastructure built on seven artificial South China Sea islands.
China still building South China Sea islands, think tank says
According to state-run Xinhua, China will launch the satellites, including more sophisticated “hyperspectral” and “synthetic aperture radar” satellites, by 2021 to conduct round-the-clock remote-sensing over the busy waterway.
Collin Koh, a maritime security specialist at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said various technical and climatic factors prevented China’s existing satellite system from giving complete coverage of the disputed waters.