China builds S.China Sea tsunami alert center

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-17 0:58:01

China is building a tsunami alert center in the South China Sea, a senior Chinese maritime official said Wednesday.

The facility is being constructed in the South China Sea, Wang Hong, chief of the State Oceanic Administration, told reporters on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of the annual legislative session.

"In fact, it has been begun operations and has already issued tsunami alerts to the international community, including neighboring countries in the South China Sea," Wang noted, adding that the project has received United Nations approval.

This is the latest announcement on facilities China is constructing in the South China Sea, though Wang did not reveal the specific location.

During the two sessions, officials of South China's Hainan Province also announced the province is building piers and restoring the ecological environment on the Xisha Islands.

Lighthouses have started operating since October on Huayan and Chigua reefs in the Nansha Islands, while the airport on Yongxing Island has managing flights, according to earlier media reports.

"Sovereignty is not only protected verbally but is now exercised and governed through our actions. This will effectively enhance our presence in the South China Sea," Ling Shengli, secretary-general of the International Security Study Center at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China's foreign ministry have reiterated that such construction fall within China's sovereignty rights and are civilian and public facilities aimed at better serve coastal nations in the South China Sea as well as maritime traffic from around the world.

Ling stressed that China has been constructing facilities for civilian use and limited defense facilities to protect civilian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the US will continue to insist on so-called freedom of navigation in the region and may lead to disputes. But major conflicts are not likely between the two countries under the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea, Ling noted.

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