Beijing operates weather stations in South China Sea artificial islands

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang asserts China's constructions on the reefs aim to provide 'public goods and services' to the countries in the region.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — China said on Thursday it has begun operating weather monitoring stations in the artificial islands in the South China Sea.

"These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference on November 1.

Lu stressed that China's constructions on the reefs aim to provide "public goods and services" to the countries in the region.

"This is what we primarily wanted to achieve when we started these works on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and it is also a solemn pledge China has made to countries in the region and to the international community," he said.

China's neighboring countries, including some Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines, have called out China's reclamation and militarization of islands in the global waterway. Beijing has since asserted its rights over most of the region through a nine-dash line claim, amid ongoing territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

A legally-binding Code of Conduct (COC) between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states and China is in the works, but Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. hinted that ongoing negotiations may not produce it. The COC outlines what claimant countries can and cannot do in the disputed region.

However, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to the Philippines this month, he said despite the sea row, Beijing will not be a threat to the Philippines.

READ: DFA chief: 'Perhaps,' there will be no legally-binding South China Sea code of conduct