While the Philippines is pushing for a freeze on destabilizing acts in the South China Sea, the Asian giant is reportedly planning to build lighthouses on some islands in the contested waters. The state-run China News Service (CNS) reported that Beijing has decided on the locations of the lighthouses to be built on five areas in the Paracel (Xisha) Islands, which are also being claimed by Vietnam. The South China Morning Post reported that the lighthouses are planned for North Reef, Antelope Reef, Drummond Island, South Sand and Pyramid Rock, small islets and reefs with part of their land surface below the waves at high tide. Citing information from a Navigation Guarantee Center official, CNS reported that technicians have been inspecting the islands since July 27. CNS added that China has also been conducting measurement of the islands and communication signal tests. It will continue to survey the islands and collect geological samples. China’s reported move comes as the Philippines seeks to impose a moratorium on construction efforts and other activities that may increase tensions in the disputed sea. On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said the Philippines will pursue its proposal in the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Myanmar. China has rejected the proposed construction freeze, saying it can build whatever it wants. But the Philippines remains unfazed after its moratorium gained the support of three ASEAN members – Vietnam, Brunei and Indonesia.
Source: Philippine Star