China: The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) will conduct regular aerial patrols over all islands claimed by China, intensifying air and sea surveillance in the East and South China seas. The SOA recently issued instructions for patrols that will be supported by high-resolution aerial photography, videos and new aerial remote sensing technology. The most important islands will be surveyed at least twice a year.
Islands outside the air defense identification zone in the East China Sea would be monitored once a year by radar remote sensing.
SOA aircraft will also gather information about infrastructure development on key islets in the area of the South China Sea administered by Sansha, a prefectural-level city set up two years ago by Hainan province. Its establishment drew protests from Vietnam and the Philippines, which also claim islands and reefs in the resource-rich sea. "The aerial surveys aim to strengthen our maritime management in the East and South China seas, which is also a presentation of China's sovereignty over those islands. The new aerial surveys will be implemented soon because almost all our marine patrol ships are equipped with helicopters," said Zhang Jie, deputy director of the Hainan Maritime Affairs Bureau.