BEIJING — China has taken another step in its campaign to claim the world’s most disputed waters by naming two senior military officers to head a garrison in the South China Sea, days after calling the island community the country’s newest city.
Senior Col. Cai Xihong was named commander of the Sansha garrison and Senior Col. Liao Chaoyi was named its political commissar, state media reported Friday. Sansha, a rugged outpost of just 1,000 people, was formally declared a city on July 20 with a flag-raising ceremony televised live.
The garrison is on an island barely large enough to host a single airstrip, while fresh water comes by freighter on a 13-hour journey from China’s southernmost province. China claims control over most of the South China Sea, portions of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and other neighbours.