China gathers high-tech surveillance data on 10,500 islands

Amid its maritime disputes with several neighbours, China has completed the collection of detailed topographic data and images of over 10,000 islands using aerial remote sensing to improve surveillance.

Beijing: Amid its maritime disputes with several neighbours, China has completed the collection of detailed topographic data and images of over 10,000 islands using aerial remote sensing to improve surveillance.

The completion of the project marks China`s first "systematic and comprehensive" move to collect surveillance information on more than 10,500 islands within its territory, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said yesterday.

China has disputes over islands with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in South China Sea and Diauyu/Senkaku islands with Japan in East China Sea.

It took three years of work by the aviation law enforcement forces with the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) to complete the collection of data, SOA said in a statement.

It said the landmasses covered are on the official catalogue of China`s islands, but none fall within the country`s recently established Air Defense Identification Zone in East China Sea opposed by US, Japan and other countries.

An islands surveillance plan mapped out by the SOA in 2011 required the CMS to conduct remote sensing and collect data on all reachable islands every three years, and said such efforts should focus on islands listed for development, rehabilitation and protection, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the CMS, it will cooperate with the SOA island management department and the National Marine Data & Information Service in drafting an information sharing mechanism in order to strengthen technological support for the country`s law enforcement work concerning its islands, the report said.