Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


China flies 2 commercial jets to man-made island

07 January 2016, 18:06

Beijing — A pair of Chinese civilian jet airliners landed at a newly created island in a disputed section of the South China Sea in a test to see whether its airstrip was up to standard, state media reported Thursday.

The China Daily newspaper said the two planes on Wednesday made the two-hour flight to Fiery Cross Reef from Haikou on the southern island province of Hainan.

It said the test flights proved the runway's ability to safely handle large civilian aircraft. Photos showed one of the planes to be a China Southern Airlines Airbus A319-115.

The flights followed a maiden voyage on Saturday that drew an angry protest from rival claimants Vietnam and the Philippines.

China's creation of seven new islands by piling sand on reefs and atolls has been condemned by its neighbors and the United States, which accused China of raising tensions in an area where six governments maintain overlapping maritime territorial claims.

The U.S. State Department responded to Saturday's flight by reiterating calls for a halt to land reclamation and militarization of outposts in those waters.

In Manila, visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday that freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea was non-negotiable and urged rival governments to avoid provocative steps.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario warned that China may next impose an air defense identification zone above the contested region.

China has rejected calls for a halt in island construction, saying its claim of sovereignty over the entire area gives it the right to proceed as it wishes. It says the new islands are principally for civilian use but also help defend Chinese sovereignty.

China's robust assertions of its claims have sparked a series of tense exchanges, mainly among China, Vietnam and the Philippines, over long-disputed and potentially oil- or gas-rich offshore territories also claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

That's also creating new tensions with the U.S., which has refused to recognize the new islands as geographic features deserving of territorial waters and other aspects of sovereignty.

While Washington takes no formal position on the various sovereignty claims, it insists that disputes be settled peacefully and that freedom of navigation be maintained in waters through which more than 30 percent of global trade passes.

Fiery Cross Reef is the largest of the seven new islands that in total compose more than 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of reclaimed land. Its 3-kilometer (10,000-foot) airstrip is long enough to handle any plane operated by the Chinese military.

Another runway is being built on Subi Reef, with signs of similar work underway on nearby Mischief Reef. If all are completed, China would possess four airstrips in all on its South China Sea island holdings.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- AP

Tags china

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...