China opens maritime rescue base in South China Sea..

An aerial view of the Fiery Cross Reef surrounded by deep blue water.


Beijing has opened a maritime rescue centre on a reef in the hotly contested South China Sea as it seeks to continue building up its presence in the region.

The centre was opened on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands — which China calls Yongshu reef and the Nansha Islands — according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, which regularly carries official announcements.

It will “better protect navigation and transport safety in the South China Sea”, Xinhua said.

China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea are vast and capture much of the strategically important waters.

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