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China is planning to set up a communication network to link the islets in the South China Sea, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.
The CNA report quoted China's state-run Xinhua news agency as saying the network will be designed by the Hainan Communications Administration.
It will include 51 base stations on islets, 104 base stations on boats and eight undersea cables, and cover islets in the South China Sea, including the islets of Xisha (Paracel Islands), Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank), and Nansha (Spratly Islands), it said.
The Spratlys are the subject of claims by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
According to the CNA report, the planned network is part of China's bid to “tighten its grip” on these island groups, which were designated by China as Sansha City of Hainan province.
It also noted the communication networks operated by China's three leading telecom companies - China Mobile, China Telecom and China United Telecom - cover all territories within 70 km of the coastline of Hainan province.
The CNA report quoted the Xinhua article as saying the communication networks likewise cover other islets, including seven that contain Chinese military bases.
The plan was bared shortly after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed an administrative order naming parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea. — ELR, GMA News