China is about to speed up efforts in designing and building a manned deep-sea platform to hunt for minerals in South China Sea, and serve as a military purpose in the disputed waters.
The would be oceanic “space station” would be located as much as 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) below the surface; according to a Science Ministry presentation. It was mentioned in China’s current five-year economic plan and ranked number two out of 100 top list in science and technology priorities.
According to the presentation, authorities examined the implementation and decided to accelerate the process of the project.
“Having this kind of long-term inhabited station has not been attempted this deep, but it is certainly possible,”
“Manned submersibles have gone to those depths for almost 50 years. The challenge is operating it for months at a time.” says Bryan Clark, a senior fellow from Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.
There are few public details including a specific time line, blueprints or a cost estimate wherever in the waterway it might be located and still, China under President Xi Jinping asserted itself more strenuously in the South China Sea.
China’s claims to more than 80 percent of the waters have inflamed tensions between nations including Vietnam and Philippines.