Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) China's island-building spree in the South China Sea has completely changed the strategic structure in the region, and China will speed up militarization and declare a South China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area, according to an assessment by the Republic of China's Ministry of National Defense.
In a report to the Legislature on China's military strength, the defense ministry said that in September 2013, China started piling sand onto Johnson South Reef (赤瓜礁), one of the 50-plus reefs in the South China Sea.
China continued the reclamation work on six other reefs and is undertaking construction of a seaport, airport runways and other infrastructure facilities, the ministry said.
The report said China will speed up militarization of the isles, making them outposts in the South China Sea.
In addition to claiming sovereignty and exploring natural resources, China will declare an ADIZ in the region, the ministry said.
Since several nations in the region have conflicting claims to the reefs in the South China Sea, China's sovereignty disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have been straining geopolitical tensions.
The Philippines has submitted the matter to the International Court for arbitration.