Tensions are rising between China and its regional neighbors after Beijing tested out a runway on one of its artificial islands in the South China Sea.
A civilian plane landed on a runway on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, one of many islands and reefs in the South China Sea claimed by China and other Asia-Pacific nations, including Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. Vietnam has lodged a formal diplomatic protest with China over its action, while a spokesman for the Philippines Foreign Minister said Monday it was planning to take similar action.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry says aircraft were sent to the island to determine whether the runway conformed to civilian aviation standards. Beijing launched a massive building project last year to transform the submerged reefs into islands that can support runways and other facilities.
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