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China expands islands on disputed reefs in South China Sea

China expands islands on disputed reefs in South China Sea

New satellite images show China has rapidly expanded several artificial islands it is building atop disputed reefs in the South China Sea, raising fresh concerns across the region and in Washington about Beijing’s intentions.Dredging and sand reclamation over the last year at Hughes Reef, a shoal in the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by five nations, has created a 90,000-square-yard island with two piers, a helicopter pad and what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radar facility, according to HIS Jane’s, a defense research company.A satellite photo taken in March showed only a small concrete platform jutting above the reef at high tide. Another photo of the same area, taken in late January, shows an inhabited island bustling with construction projects.As The Times reported on Jan. 28, U.S. officials worry that the buildup indicates a Chinese push to establish de facto control over resource-rich waters and islets also claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam. Washington has urged China and the five other nations to resolve the territorial dispute peacefully.

Read More:China expands islands on disputed reefs in South China Sea – LA Times.

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