China has accelerated construction and enhanced its military presence on South China Sea islands and shoals over the past year as territorial tensions with neighboring countries are subsiding.
China’s construction projects in the South China Sea region covered about 290,000 square meters in 2017, including new facilities for underground storage, administrative building and large radar, according to a report released on nanhai.haiwainet.cn, a website jointly run by the National Marine Data and Information Service and the People’s Daily Overseas Edition.
The report added that China has “reasonably” expanded the area of South China Sea Islands, in order to enhance military defense capability within its sovereign scope and improve the lives of people living on the islands.
One of the most outstanding achievements of South China Sea’s island-building is the increase of civilian facilities in these islands. These improve their public service capacity and help to maintain sovereignty over the islands, Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow with the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times.
Residents of Sansha city on Yongxing Island on South China’s Hainan Province will have a more stable power supply once a floating nuclear power platform has been put into use. people on some islands have installed seawater desalination facilities.
The number of students in Yongxing’s school in Sansha, which is located in the southernmost point of China, has increased from six to 23 this year, said the report, adding that Sansha’s government has also built libraries and stadiums to enrich people’s lives.