In what appears to be the clearest sign of China’s ambitions in the South China Sea, the country is reportedly looking to invest in floating maritime nuclear platform in the region. According to reports, Beijing wants to build nuclear plants even with ongoing opposition from the United States. Will tensions go nuclear?
China is working on bringing its ambitions closer to fruition as reports about nuclear platforms in development in South China Sea now resurface. The nuclear power platforms will supposedly be used to support the country’s projects in the disputed region. Information came from a state-run newspaper although the foreign ministry denied hearing anything about it.
Previously, China made waves following its supposed militarization activities on a series of islands in the region. The country has been linked to development of runways and other infrastructure that some feel would otherwise be strategic for the nation’s military force.
China’s plans were further reiterated by a report from the Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily. The report said that nuclear power platforms could eventually sail in the region to offer reliable power supply. The company in charge of development and construction is China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. Liu Zhengguo, the head of its general office, confirmed that the company is “pushing forward the work.”
“The development of nuclear power platforms is a burgeoning trend,” Liu told The Global Times via Reuters.
“The exact number of plants to be built by the company depends on the market demand.”
Demand is “pretty strong”, he added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, denied the report.
“I’ve not heard here of the relevant situation,” said Hua before the press.
The United States, however, is not taking anything from China lightly. As one of the most vocal about its opposition to Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, the US has been conducting drills across nearby regions in an attempt to show might and deter Chinese aggression. The United States just sent warplanes to go around the disputed region.
U.S. Pacific Command confirmed just recently in a statement on Friday that the A-10C Thunderbolt IIs (warthogs) and two HH-60G Pave Hawks left Clark Air Base last Tuesday and flew across Scarborough Shoal.
“Our job is to ensure air and sea domains remain open in accordance with international law. That is extremely important. International economics depends on it — free trade depends on our ability to move goods,” The Japan Times quoted Col. Larry Card, the air contingent commander.