China sets up lighthouse on contested South China Sea reef in a bid to gain more control

Beijing: China has expanded its presence in the contested South China Sea by switching on a lighthouse atop a reconstructed reef also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines, state media said.

The 55-meter-high (180-foot) facility on Subi Reef in the Spratly chain contains technology to monitor passing ships, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday.

China claims virtually all the South China Sea despite conflicting claims by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. It has constructed artificial islands in the area in recent months as it asserts its claims.

China has turned Subi Reef -- known as Zhubi in China -- into an artificial island in the past year, satellite photos have shown, reclaiming nearly 400 hectares (988 acres) of land.

The island-building has been condemned by neighbours and the United States, but Beijing insists it is aimed at helping with maritime search and rescue.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Chinese transport officials held a ceremony on Subi on Tuesday, Xinhua said. Pictures showed men in white shirts beside the towering structure next to a sign reading "Lights-on ceremony".

Washington regularly accuses Beijing -- which says it has built runways  and deployed unspecified weapons to the islands -- of militarising the area.

Beijing denies the accusations and says US patrols have ramped up tensions.

Citing an obligation to uphold freedom of navigation, Washington last year sent the USS Lassen to sail past Subi Reef, a move which angered Beijing.

Xinhua reported last year that China would build two 50-metre-tall lighthouses on the Cuarteron and Johnson South reefs in the Spratly islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

The state-run China Daily newspaper reported in 2014 that Beijing would build five new lighthouses in the South China Sea's Paracels chain.


Updated Date: Apr 06, 2016 13:33 PM

Also Watch

IPL 2018: Royal Challengers Bangalore eye revival against Chennai Super Kings as 'Cauvery Derby' comes back to life
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 In the Kanjarbhat community, a campaign against 'virginity tests' is slowly gaining ground
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 It's A Wrap: Beyond the Clouds stars Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, April 9, 2018 48 hours with Huawei P20 Pro: Triple camera offering is set to redefine smartphone imaging
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore interview: Sports can't be anyone's fiefdom, we need an ecosystem to nurture raw talent

Also See