Soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stationed in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea have opened supermarkets for the islands’ residents. The move is seen as a way for the Chinese government to demonstrate its presence in the region.
The Spratly Islands, which are claimed by several countries in the region, have been a point of contention in the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. China has built artificial islands and military installations in the area, which has raised concerns among its neighbors and the international community.
The PLA soldiers have set up two supermarkets on the islands of Yongshu and Zhubi, which offer a range of goods including vegetables, fruit, snacks, and household items. The stores are open to both soldiers and civilians, and are said to have been well-received by the local residents.
The move is seen as part of China’s efforts to strengthen its presence in the region, and to improve the living conditions for its soldiers stationed in the disputed islands. However, it has also been criticized as a way for China to assert its territorial claims and to solidify its control over the area.
The opening of the supermarkets comes amid increased tensions in the South China Sea, as China continues to assert its territorial claims and increase its military presence in the region. The move is likely to further fuel concerns among China’s neighbors and the international community about its intentions in the disputed waters. The US, which has been conducting freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, has called on China to respect the rights of other countries in the region and to abide by international law. The situation in the South China Sea is likely to remain a contentious issue, as the various parties continue to assert their claims and pursue their interests in the area.