(CNN)China says it has landed two civilian aircraft on an artificial island it has built in disputed waters in the South China Sea, just days after Vietnam objected to a similar maneuver.
According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, two civilian aircraft landed on the newly-built airfield in the disputed Spratly Islands on Wednesday morning, before flying back to Haikou, in southern China’s Hainan province, the same day.
China confirmed it had completed building an airfield on Fiery Cross Reef Saturday. It’s one of three China has been building, according to analysis of satellite images.
Dotted with small islands, reefs and shoals, the South China Sea is home to a messy territorial dispute that pits multiple countries against each other.
In the past two years, the United States says China has reclaimed some 2,000 acres of land in the waters — equivalent to 1,500 football fields — in a massive dredging operation, turning tiny sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, ports and lighthouses.