By Mei Jingya, Sina English
The Philippine Star reported on Tuesday that China is planning to build an airstrip adjacent to Zhongye Island in the South China Sea.
According to the report, the back of a four-story building on Zhubi Reef has been selected as the airstrip’s location. Construction has yet to start.
Zhubi Reef is approximately 6 kilometers long and 3.7 kilometers wide. Local media reported earlier that China recently installed a huge dome-shaped radar and a lighthouse on it, aside from the two four-story buildings and two barracks. Another lighthouse is reportedly located at the northern end of the reef, which can be seen clearly from Zhongye Island on a fine day.
Philippine’s aerial patrol authorities claimed to have spotted a Chinese landing ship moored in Zhubi Reef, suspecting that China is to replicate in Zhubi Reef the Danwan Reef model.
Danwan Reef is one of the Nansha Islands, falling within China’s sovereignty, but was wrestled by Malaysia in 1979 and later developed into an island resort with an airport and a hotel.
The China-Philippines standoff has entered its third month since the dispute over Huangyan Island broke out. One the one hand, Manila says it’s actively seeking peaceful solutions to the row; on the other hand, it is creating buzz and provoking one trouble after another.
China’s Foreign Ministry has reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters.