China plans on building a supersized sand dredging vessel to boost its island-building capabilities, the South China Morning Post informed earlier in the week.
A dredging vessel can split the seabed using drill-like reamer equipment to develop artificial islands.
It sucks up rocks and sand, pumping these to the locations via a long pipe. Per this report, the super-dredger will be 50% more powerful than China’s existing island-building vessels.
It will boast a 10,000-kilowatt reamer, above the approximately 6,600-kilowatt power of the Tian Kun and about the Tian Jing’s 4,400 kilowatts.
Developing the new vessel is not merely a simple enlargement regarding hull size, reamer power, etc. However, a qualitative leap forward, Tian Jing and Tian Kun operator Qin Bin mentioned.
Besides building islands, the new dredging vessel is also expected to clear the navigation waterways.
A Psychological Warfare
China has been developing artificial islands in the South China Sea to increase its expanding influence in that zone.
A top US military official claimed in 2022 that the Asian country had militarized three or more artificially constructed islands in the highly disputed maritime territory.
The controversial activities compel Taiwan and other nations to divert additional resources to the Coast Guards instead of their armed forces, per a 2022 Foreign Policy piece.
Many consider developing additional artificial islands as Beijing’s maritime grey zone techniques to normalize activities internationally.
In the meantime, a Reuters report dated February 2021 highlighted that China’s sand-dredging activities are part of a psychological war against Taiwan, which it perceives as its territory.
References: The Defense Post, SCMP
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