- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2014

China is constructing a giant island in disputed waters in the South China Sea that could be used as an airstrip.

Satellite images provided by the defense and security group IHS Jane’s show that China is building what appears to be an offshore airstrip in the Spratly Islands, Reuters reported Friday.

The island is 1.9 miles long and anywhere from 660-980 feet wide, which IHS Jane’s said is “large enough to construct a runway and apron.”

The security website added that work is also being done that will provide China with a harbor large enough to “receive tankers and major surface combatants,” Reuters reported.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in May, “It falls within China’s sovereignty rights to engage in construction on the relevant reef,” when dredging of the reef began, the Associated Press reported. The Philippines protested the activity but was unclear as to what China was building.

“We’re not exactly sure what are their intentions there,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told AP on May 15.

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• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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