Beijing, March 27 (IANS) China may step up its exploration of the South China Sea to reinforce its territorial claims.
Authorities announced that geographical surveys of the area were underway, People's Daily said in an opinion piece.
"The majority of the disputed waters used to be beyond our reach because we seldom put our claims into action," Zhang Yunling, director of the Institute for International Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
"By drawing a map, the country can reinforce its jurisdiction claim in the South China Sea, and further actions may follow, such as exploiting resources near the Nansha Islands," Zhang said.
According to a report by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG), a work group jointly set up by 13 government agencies will continue geographical surveying of the South China Sea.
They will draw a map of the sea or its islands to "declare China's stance" on territorial issues.
Similar mapping work will also be carried out on the Diaoyu Islands and other important areas in the East China Sea when the time is right, it added.
China claims indisputable sovereignty of the Nansha and Xisha islands and their adjacent waters. Several countries in the region, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, have made competing claims.
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