The United States has urged Beijing to stop its reclamation projects in the South China Sea, as a report provided more details on a massive island being built in the disputed waters.
According to a report by IHS Jane’s Defence, China had over the past three months used dredgers to build an island about 3,000 metres long and 200 to 300 metres wide on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. The reef – which China calls Yongshu Reef – was previously under water.
The results of the dredging are captured in satellite pictures obtained by IHS Jane’s that cover a period between August 8 and November 14. The reclamation efforts were also noted in a US Congress report on Thursday.
US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool said the reclamation project was one of several pursued by China but the first that could accommodate an airstrip.
“It appears that’s what they’re working toward,” Pool said.
A harbour has also as been dug out on the east side of the reef that appears large enough for tankers and naval warships.
The IHS Jane’s report said: “The land reclamation at Fiery Cross is the fourth such project undertaken by China in the Spratly Islands in the last 12-18 months and by far the largest in scope.”