Tensions soar after China inaugurates lighthouse in disputed South China Sea

The dispute over South China Sea has heated up yet again after China hosted a "completion ceremony" to mark the start of operations at the 55-meters high lighthouse on Subi Reef.

The country's state news agency Xinhua reported that the lighthouse "can provide efficient navigation services such as positioning reference, route guidance and navigation safety information to ships, which can improve navigation management and emergency response."

Xinhua added that the remote controlled lighthouse took around five months to be completed. It was built to be 55-meters high with a lantern of 4.5 meters diameter on its top, emitting lights to a range of 40.744 km distance.

The inauguration of the lighthouse sparked controversy and harsh reactions from all the other claimants of the South China Sea.

While Beijing defended the inauguration claiming that they are designed to fulfil obligations towards the international community in terms of scientific research, rescue operations and maritime safety - U.S. and its allies have termed the developments as 'aggressive.'

Subi Reef, an artificial island built up by China over the past year is the same place where U.S. had previously sent warships in October 2015 to challenge Beijing's territorial claims in the region.

Six Pacific nations including Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have territorial claims in the South China Sea, and accuse China of using its military might to intimidate them into backing down.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in ship-borne global trade passes every year.

Reports have added that China is constructing infrastructure and other assets, such as airfields for fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down enemy planes, possibly to deter any encroachments along the artificial islands. Further revealing that China also has lighthouse projects on two other islands, Cuarteron Reef and Johnson South Reef, in the same region of the South China Sea.

Source: Irish Sun

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