MANILA – China recently defied U.S. calls to cease the land reclamation project and defended it adding that the work is for public service use.
A London-based security group, however said that China’s move will make it possible for China to host a military airfield – an act that may scare its neighbors.
Defending the construction, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the country’s intention was to allow Chinese citizens to work and “better perform international obligations in terms of search, rescue and other public services.”
Satellite images taken last August and this month indicated that Chinese dredgers already created a land mass occupying almost the entire length of Fiery Cross Reef, according to HIS Jane in a recent report.
The security group also added that the construction, previously under water, was the largest project in the disputed islands.
It also added that the 3,000-meter (9,840 feet) long island if finished, may be China’s first military airstrip in the Spratlys island.
It might be aimed at helping the country impose its claims of sovereignty in the territory, according to the group.
“This facility appears purpose-built to coerce other claimants into relinquishing their claims and possessions, or at least provide China with a much stronger negotiating position if talks over the dispute were ever held,” the report said.