Chinese petroleum giant Sinopec plans on building a filling station on an island in the South China Sea, as China continues to build up infrastructure on the disputed territory.
According to Sinopec, the planned filling station and accompanying storage tank on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands will take one year to complete building. Woody Island has a population of around 1,000 residents, and perhaps some wood as well. The filling station will meet all fuel needs of the island.
The Paracels have been controlled by the PRC since 1974, though they are also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. China established the city of Sansha under Hainan province to administer the area in 2012.
“Nouveaux riches, go fishing in Sansha, and remember to bring your filling card,” Sinopec quipped.
Chinese travel agents began offering five-day cruises to the Paracel Islands in 2013. It didn’t take long before Chinese tourists incited online vitriol for their treatment of native wildlife on the islands.
Last year, China constructed a military airstrip on the island. China’s navy has recently carried out military exercises in the disputed waterway, the country’s defense ministry said on Sunday, calling them routine drills.
While another U.S. patrol into the disputed waters this year appears unlikely, Australia has recently been stepping up its air patrols in defiance of Beijing. Meanwhile, observers worry about a dangerous arms race to come.
China appears to be taking the lead in this race as Woody Island looks to be an idyllic and convenient pit stop if ever on a quest for world domination.
By Mary DeMay