This is not surprising; experts had already seen this coming. Days after the international humiliation China suffered after a UN tribunal at The Hague ruled against the country’s claim on South China Sea, a Chinese state-run corporation announced that it will build mobile nuclear power plants in the disputed area.
According to Global Times, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on its social media account that “marine nuclear power platform construction will be used to support China’s effective control in the South China Sea.”
The report in Global Times said that the construction of the platform might be done on the Spratly Islands chain.
The Spratly Islands. EPA
But CNNC later removed the announcement from WeChat – China’s social media platform.
The purpose of the mobile nuclear power plants is to provide freshwater to the military personnel stationed on the Spratly Islands and neighbouring areas in the SCS. “In the past, the freshwater provision to troops stationed in the South China Sea could not be guaranteed, and could only be provided by boats delivering barrels of water,” the Global Times cited the report as saying.
A Chinese Coast Guard ship seen from a Vietnamese Marine Guard ship somewhere in SCS region. Reuters
“In the future, as the South China Sea electricity and power system is strengthened, China will speed up the commercial development of the South China Sea region,” it added.
But Reuters reports that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang is unaware of any such plans.
Quoting an expert, the report says that the news has been “repeated in reaction to the latest South China Sea dispute”. On Tuesday, a Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) rejected Beijing’s claims over the region based on the nine-dash-line. The ruling was seen as a major victory for countries in the heart of the dispute – Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Council on Foreign Relations
Whether or not China goes ahead with the plan as has been stated in the report, South China Sea is in for a storm. A bellicose China had already stated that it does not recognize the ruling
and Beijing will give a “solemn response” to anyone who takes any action based on the ruling.