A government remote sensing institute in the southern province of Hainan intends to launch 10 satellites over the nearby seas from 2019 to 2021, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in December. Two will be able to analyze each pixel in an image to find objects or detect processes. Others can compose three-dimensional images of landscapes. These tools could effectively monitor what other countries are doing on many of the South China Sea’s 500 tiny islets and surrounding waters.

“If China is collecting data they don’t have to share with other countries, then that’s a strategic advantage,” says Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

Xinhua doesn’t mention who will make the satellites, but per tradition the 11-year-old exclusive domestic operator China DBSat will probably get a sizable part in managing them.


In Vietnamese, as translated by VietTimes:

Nhà nghiên cứu Jonathan Spangler, viện nghiên cứu Biển Đông tại Đài Bắc, Đài Loan cho rằng: “Nếu Trung Quốc muốn thu thập số liệu và không chia sẻ với nước khác thì đó là một ưu thế chiến lược”.