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The Chinese state publication China Daily announced the beginning of construction on Wednesday of what it referred to as “a complex of facilities for research” on Hainan island in the South China Sea intended to conserve the “historical heritage in the South China Sea.”
Hainan is China’s southernmost province and a legal part of China. It lies close to disputed territories in the South China Sea, however, such as the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, and the Scarborough Shoal, claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
China - Entiretly - South - China - Sea
China claims almost the entiretly of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory, alleging that Beijing has governed that territory for thousands of years. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled in 2016 that China’s claims – and its construction of artificial islands outside of Chinese sovereign territory – were illegal. China vowed to ignore the ruling and has continued to build military and surveillance facilities on Vietnamese and Philippine territory.
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Construction - Qionghai - Part - Hainan - Parameters
The new construction in Qionghai, part of Hainan, will not fall within the parameters of the illegal constructions. It does appear to be intended to spread propaganda against the ruling, however.
“Launching this project reflects the country’s maritime strategy and determination to boost culture,” Hu Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, told China Daily. “The base will benefit Hainan’s economy and help clarify the history of the South China Sea.”
Facilities - Studies - China - Region
The facilities will reportedly help “archaeoogical studies” intended to prove that China has always governed the region.
“The facilities will include a scientific research institute for maritime cultural heritage, a conservation workshop for salvaged shipwrecks and a training center for archaeologists,” China Daily reports. The government will allow the National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage to control the facilities, the newspaper continued, without clarifying what...
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