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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

China lands 1st civilian plane on disputed Spratly Islands.

China lands 1st civilian plane on disputed Spratly Islands. (RT).

A test flight by a civilian plane landed on an island in the South China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. It’s the first time China has done so in the disputed Spratly Islands. Tensions are now high with neighboring Vietnam and the Philippines.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at the weekend the test flight of a non-military aircraft was intended to check if the runway meets civilian aviation standards and fell “completely within China's sovereignty,” according to Reuters.

The runway is at the Chinese-administered Fiery Cross Reef, where Beijing has built an artificial island in the middle of the South China Sea. However, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines also lay claim to the area. The runway is 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet) long and is thought to be capable of serving long-range planes, including transport craft, bombers and fighter jets.

Both Vietnam and the Philippines have delivered formal diplomatic protests condemning China’s actions, Reuters reports.

"That's the fear, that China will be able take control of the South China Sea and it will affect freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight," the Philippines’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose told reporters on Monday.Read the full story here.

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