BEIJING Chinese oil main Sinopec is building a filling station on an island in the South China Sea, as China continues to expand its civilian infrastructure in the disputed waterway, entrenching its reach in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
The filling station and accompanying storage tank on Woody Island in the Paracels will take a year to total, the company, whose listed flagship is Sinopec Corp, said on its microblog on Monday.
Woody Island has a population of roughly 1,000 and Chinese travel agents started supplying five-day cruises to the Paracels, a cluster of close to 40 islets, outcrops and reefs in 2013.
The filling station and storage tank will satisfy fuel demands in Chinese-controlled islands and reefs in the South China Sea over the next handful of years, the post said.
“Nouveaux riches, go fishing in Sansha city, and bear in mind to bring your filling card,” it quipped, referring to an outpost in the South China Sea centered about Woody Island.
China took full handle of the Paracels in 1974 following a naval showdown with the South Vietnamese, and there have been incidents ever because. Taiwan also claims the Paracels.
China claims practically all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, via which much more than $ 5 trillion of maritime trade passes every single year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
The United States has criticized Beijing’s building of artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago, south of the Paracels, and has conducted sea and air patrols close to them.
China’s navy has in recent days carried out a lot more workout routines in the disputed waterway, the country’s defense ministry mentioned on Sunday, calling them routine drills.
(Reporting By Adam Rose Editing by Michael Perry)