BEIJING, September 14. /TASS/. China continues work on expanding and developing landmass among a string of artificial Nansha Islands (also known as the Spratly Islands) on legal ground, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday.
"China continues expanding and developing work on the Nansha Islands in accordance with the law," the diplomat said.
China carries out expanding works on the Nansha Islands with the aim of "providing neighboring countries with appropriate services and ensuring necessary defense capabilities." "These constructions are of defense character," the spokesman stressed.
Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported earlier that China continues reclamation of landmass on the Spratly Islands with the aim of militarizing the artificial archipelago in the South China Sea despite Beijing’s claims to the contrary. CSIS said latest satellite serve as proof.
Beijing has been involved for several decades in a territorial dispute with several countries over the sovereignty of a whole group of islands in the South China Sea where huge offshore hydrocarbon deposits have been discovered.
The territorial dispute has primarily focused on the Shisha (Paracel) archipelago, the Nansha (Spratly) and Huangyan Islands and also involves such countries as Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Since late 2013, China has been carrying out large-scale hydraulic works for expanding and developing territories under its control. China claims that is has "indisputable sovereignty over the islands."