China on Tuesday aired the first television footage of ongoing construction at a disputed reef in the South China Sea as the country gears up for more military exercises in the region.
Video of buildings, roads and lighthouses being built on Fiery Cross Reef were seen in a China Central Television broadcast, TIME reported, citing the state-run Global Times newspaper.
The construction footage appeared in a segment about a dance troupe from China’s army that happened to be performing on the reef. The territory is also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
A day after the reported broadcast, China’s military announced it would carry out more military drills in the South China Sea involving warships, a new guided missile destroyer and submarines.
The state-run Xinhua news agency did not say when the drills will take place, Reuters reported.
More than $5 trillion in maritime trade passes through the South China Sea each year – where Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims to its islands and reefs.