Herald Citzen
 LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Apr 17, 8:11 PM EDT

Report says China building airstrip on reclaimed island

AP Photo
AP Photo/Airbus Defence and Space

Multimedia
Video photo gallery on trash in China
China celebrates 60th year
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen
A year after China quake
Migrant laborers struggle to find work
Checking Beijing's Air
China's morning exercises in parks
Exploring Chinese Cuisine
Beijing Architecture Changes For Games
Woman Rescues Homeless Quake Dogs
China Holds Funeral for Panda
China's 1-child Policy Causes Extra Pain
Map of Earthquake Zone in Central China
Entrepreneurs Move Into, Out of China
Olypmics in Beijing Highlight China's Water Woes
Foreign Buyers Head to China Despite Problems
Coal Use Produces Pollution, Illness
Coal Means Profit, Woes for China
China Extending Its Reach Around the World
In China, the Desert Closes In
Latest News
Chinese president applauds Pakistan's anti-terror efforts

US business group in China urges more transparency, access

Defiant Hong Kongers resist embrace of mainland China

7 dead, 13 trapped in flooded northern China coal mine

Global, Chinese automakers debut new car models

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Audio Slideshow
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen

BEIJING (AP) -- China is building an airstrip on an artificially created island in a disputed section of the South China Sea, according to independent analysts, a move the U.S. has warned could raise tensions in the area.

Defense group IHS Jane's said satellite images of Fiery Cross Reef taken March 23 show a runway more than 500 meters (about 550 yards) long as well as paved sections of apron. The U.S. says China is carrying out eight such land reclamation projects in the area.

Jane's said the island is already big enough for a runway 3,000 meters (9,500 feet) long that would be able to accommodate air force planes. China already operates a runway on Woody Island to the west of Fiery Cross Reef, which is also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan, and another island it is creating could also be big enough to accommodate a runway.

The airfield construction also was mentioned by the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Adm. Samuel Locklear said the reclamation work would allow China to exert more influence in the contested region and possibly deploy military assets such as long-range radar and advanced missile systems.

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea and its island chains. Malaysia and Brunei also claim waters and islands in the area.

At a Friday briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei defended the island reclamation work, which China says is largely to improve living conditions for people in the area and help with weather forecasting and search and rescue work.

Such work is "lawful, justifiable and reasonable. It does not target or impact on any other country and we hope that relevant parties can have a correct understanding on that," Hong said.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.