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HomeAsiaChina denies report it is developing reefs and cays in the South...

China denies report it is developing reefs and cays in the South China Sea

'Quick read' news summary

China has dismissed a report that Beijing has been developing at least four unoccupied features in the South China Sea. Some U.S. experts have also casted doubt on the claims.

A Bloomberg News report on Tuesday quoted unnamed Western officials as saying China is building up several unoccupied land features including Eldad Reef, Lankiam Cay, Whitsun Reef and Sandy Cay, all in the Spratly archipelago, also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China rejected the news, with the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) think tank calling it “100% fake news.”

Beijing has already developed several artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea and fully militarized at least three of them with airfields, radars and hangars, but this new revelation may be “the first known instances of a nation doing so on territory it doesn’t already occupy,” reported Bloomberg.

The officials, who asked not to be identified so they could discuss sensitive information, told the news agency that “some sandbars and other formations in the area expanded more than ten times in size in recent years.”

The previously submerged features have now been exposed and reinforced to “sit permanently above the high-tide line,” according to the officials.

If true, this would be a major step towards changing the status quo in the South China Sea by Beijing, which claims “historical rights” to almost 90% of the sea as well as the islands and other land features inside it.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim parts of the resource-rich sea.

Land formations

A UN tribunal in

China has dismissed a report that Beijing has been developing at least four unoccupied features in the South China Sea. China rejected the news, with the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) think tank calling it “100% fake news.” If true, this would be a major step towards changing the status quo in the South China Sea by Beijing, which claims “historical rights” to almost 90% of the sea as well as the islands and other land features inside it.

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