China launches new facilities in Vietnam islands as nations fight coronavirus
The Hanoitimes - China's move at this moment might go unnoticed at a time when the world focuses on fighting the coronavirus.
China has launched two research stations on Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) islands in the South China Sea when the world is busy with fighting the new coronavirus.
|Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef) in Vietnam's Truong Sa islands. Photo: CSIS/AMTI|
The research facilities that are set up on Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef) and Subi Reef in Truong Sa are “under the Integrated Research Center for Islands and Reefs of the Chinese Academy Sciences (CAS), feature a number of labs on ecology, geology and environments,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.
The CAS planned to “promote innovation capability and the supply of public service products of marine science and technology to meet the needs of both China and other littoral countries around the South China Sea.”
China in recent years has transformed reefs and islands into outposts equipped with harbors, airstrips, missile shelters, communications facilities, expanding its ability to monitor its and rivals’ activities in the South China Sea of which Beijing's claims cover more than 80%.
Filipino Inquirer quoted maritime security expert Collin Koh as saying that the launching of the two new research centers by China at this time is a significant development.
“Some may think that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would have distracted Beijing from these maritime flashpoints,” he said.
Koh believes China will remain consistent in its activities in the disputed waters. However, because of the pandemic that has swept across the globe, its actions might go unnoticed.
“The world is likely to overlook such developments given their priority focus on the virus. This should apply to the other South China Sea parties too,” Koh said.
Vietnam’s Fiery Cross Reef was invaded and occupied by China on January 22, 1988 and started building outposts from the end of February 1988, Senior Colonel Pham Cong Phan, a Vietnamese retired army officer told Thanh Nien newspaper.
From late 2013 to 2014, China expanded the reef to make it the largest manmade island in Truong Sa archipelago. Currently, the reef has underground facilities that can accommodate large vessels, Thanh Nien reported.
- Vietnam, US, Philippines denounce China’s drills in South China Sea
- Vietnam protests China's military exercises in South China Sea
- Seismic surveys in Vietnam EEZ must be authorized by Hanoi: Spokesperson
- China agrees to resume negotiations on COC in South China Sea
- ASEAN quotes UNCLOS for South China Sea claims in Hanoi statement
- Vietnam demands China to compensate its fishermen in intentional ramming case
- Vietnam demands China to investigate ramming of Vietnamese fishing boat
- US sends notes against Chinese maritime claims to UN: Hanoi says 'normal practice'
- Vietnam protests China's laying of undersea cables near disputed islands
- What does China's potential ADIZ over South China Sea imply?
“Extraordinary progress of the US-Vietnam relationship is not an accident”: Ambassador Kritenbrink
Effective Covid-19 response will further boost Vietnam’s status as an attractive market: AmCham
Hanoi makes public master plan of Hoa Lac township
Covid-19 impacts on Vietnam economy not fully reflected in 6-month data: CIEM
ASEAN Summit in Hanoi expected to boost intra-regional economic links
Hanoi works closely with ADB to ensure progress of urban infrastructure projects
Vietnam Airlines retakes Jetstar Pacific from Qantas
Hanoi strives to ensure safe and stable investment environment for investors
Removal of permanent residency requirement to pressurize Hanoi's budget