Construction of two South China Sea lighthouses completed

Beijing, Oct 24 (IANS) The Chinese maritime safety authorities have announced that construction work on two lighthouses in the South China Sea near Sansha island in Hainan province has been completed, the media reported on Saturday.

Construction work on the two lighthouses has been completed and they can now withstand gale-force winds, the authorities said on Friday.

The lighthouses are six meters high and the light is visible up to five nautical miles away.

Analysts said it is necessary to build public facilities in the area because visual aids to navigation services have been absent, which has directly affected government work of management and safety supervision.

“The water often has big waves and low visibility, particularly during poor weather,” Wang Xiaopeng, an expert in maritime and border studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

“Since there has been a rapid development of shipping and fisheries in Sansha, a navigation service is vital to the area and will act as a boost to the industries,” he noted.

The South China Sea is a vital waterway for international transportation and one of the most important fishing grounds in the world.

The Chinese government is set to continue geological and geomorphological investigation in the area and collect related samples to prepare for the next lighthouse construction.

Meanwhile, The Philippines on Monday criticised another lighthouse built by China on the Nansha islands which started operations on October 10.

It charged that the lighthouses were covert means of enforcing China’s claims to the disputed waters.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Tuesday that the construction is aimed at better serving coastal nations in the South China Sea and passing vessels from around the world.

She stressed that “these actions do not change the status quo there.”

Hua reiterated that China’s construction completely falls within its own sovereign territory.

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