A groundbreaking ceremony took place in China for the construction of two lighthouses in the South China Sea.
Local news media stated that the construction of the new facilities would strain further the tensions in the region, which are already unstable because of the maritime ambitions of Beijing.
The ceremony was hosted by the Ministry of Transport of China. Despite the calls of the United States and the Philippines for ending such activities, the Chinese government will continue the building of both multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef respectively, which are part of the disputed Spratly Islands.
In English the reefs are known as Cuarteron Reef and Johnson South Reef.
The previous year, China was accused by the Philippines for reclaiming of a land on Johnson South Reef, which most probably is to be used for the building of an airstrip.
China claims the larger part of the South China Sea, where an international shipping trade with estimated value for $5 trillion per year is passing. However, the same claims have and the other countries in the region: Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
According to representatives of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the new constructions on Spratly islands will be used to facilitate activities such as maritime search and rescue, disaster relief, environmental protection and navigational security, because maritime accidents frequently occur in the South China Sea region.
Hua Chunying, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said:
"China's construction of the lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef in the Spratly Islands is an important measure to implement its corresponding international responsibilities and duties.”
During the last weeks, the United States had disagreements with China regarding the construction works on Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which is area of rich fishing grounds and significant energy reserves as well.
The US government believes that the new Chinese facilities will strengthen the country’s presence in the region and China shortly afterwards will declare an exclusion zone in the air and sea territory, limiting the ships and aircraft passing through the South China Sea.
In a statement for local media on Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it had lodged a complaint with the United States regarding U.S. spy plane that entered the air territorial corridors over the southern regions of the China Sea.
The Philippine government stated that they expect a "stronger commitment" from the United States in order to support its ally with the Chinese activities on Spratly Islands.
Beijing said that all disagreements regarding the South China Sea should be resolved through direct participation in official talks with all parties involved in the conflict.
In general, the outside interference of the United States in the dispute on that issue is not well accepted by the Chinese government.