Satellite imagery analyzed by the Associated Press news agency appears to show that China is building an airstrip on an island in the South China Sea that is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
Work on Triton Island in the Paracel region resembles construction work on seven man-made islands in the Spratlys to the east complete with airstrips, wharves and military systems, although the current construction work appears to be more modest in scale.
China practically claims the entire South China Sea, rejects the claims of other countries and challenges the international court’s decision to cancel its claims.
The United States (US) does not take a stand in this claim of sovereignty. However, the US routinely sends its Navy ships to conduct “freedom of navigation operations” near Chinese-controlled islands. Triton is the focus of one of these missions in 2018. (uh/ab)