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China Upgrades Telecom Services on Disputed Islands

A Chinese navy contract to upgrade telecom services on islands in the disputed South China Sea confirms the Beijing government’s intent to step up its control of the waterway for gains in research, exploration and military coordination, analysts say. A naval fleet has signed agreements with the three biggest telecom operators to upgrade the “civil communication system” in the Paracel and Spratly island chains, the official Xinhua News Agency said Friday. The islets and reefs will get 4G services by May, it said. China is the most militarily powerful country in a six-way sovereignty dispute over the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea stretching from Hong Kong to Borneo. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim all or parts of the sea. They periodically chafe with China as it develops some of the islets for military use. The 4G upgrades show that China will step up an existing technological advantage in the...

 

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