DigitalGlobe high-resolution imagery of the Subi Reef in the South China Sea, a part of the Spratly Islands group on September 1, 2015
ScapeWare3d—DigitalGlobe/Getty Images
August 11, 2016 3:35 AM EDT

Amid heightening tensions over the South China Sea, China’s state-run newspaper reported Thursday that a recently launched satellite would help safeguard the country’s maritime interests in the disputed region.

“The satellite will play an important role in monitoring the marine environment, islands and reefs, and ships and oil rigs,” said project leader Xu Fuxian, according to Reuters.

The Gaofen 3 satellite includes a radar system that can generate images from space with a resolution down to 1 m, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense told the China Daily.

“Satellites like the Gaofen 3 will be very useful in safeguarding the country’s maritime rights and interests,” added Xu.

China claims most of the rocks and reefs of the South China Sea as its own, but the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also stake disputing claims to various parts of the territory.

In July, an international tribunal in the Hague rejected China’s assertions to the heavily contested region, in a case brought by the Philippines — a decision Beijing refuses to recognize.


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