China has begun building sewage and waste disposal facilities on a disputed South China Sea island, state media said yesterday, a move likely to stoke a growing territorial row with its neighbors.
The report in the China Daily came a month after Beijing enraged Vietnam by announcing the establishment of the new “capital” city of Sansha on Woody Island (Yongxing Island, 永興島), one of the islands that make up the disputed Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島).
The paper said work had begun on sewage disposal and waste collection facilities for the island’s roughly 1,000 residents and a new military garrison that Beijing announced last month, sparking the ire of neighbors and concern in Washington.
Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes and substantial proven and estimated oil and gas deposits.
Taiwan and ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia all have rival claims on areas of the sea, while the US is also watching China’s increased assertiveness closely.
Sparsely populated Sansha is China’s smallest city in terms of population and land size. Most of its residents are fishermen and their families.
The sewage network will help irrigate the greenbelt, the China Daily quoted authorities as saying.
“The city government said the projects aim to strengthen environmental protection and improve living conditions for residents and servicemen stationed on the islands,” the China Daily said. “It will also help the diversity of marine species and promote the fishery industry.”
The announcement last month that Sansha would be established led to a formal protest being lodged by Vietnam, which said it violates international law.
The Philippines, which is involved in a dispute over another archipelago, the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), summoned the Chinese ambassador to lodge a complaint against the garrison announcement.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory