A naval patrol aircraft landed on Yongshu Reef, parts of the Nansha Islands, to pick up three construction workers who were seriously ill on Sunday morning.

The mission was ordered by Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA Navy, and Miao Hua, political commissar of the PLA Navy. The sick workers were taken to No 425 Hospital of the Navy in Sanya, Hainan province, to receive treatment.

It was the first time that a Chinese military aircraft has landed on Yongshu Reef.

The historical landing reflects that China’s installations in the South China Sea can provide better service in fulfilling the country’s humanitarian mission there, analysts said.

The analysts also predicted that the recent tension in the South China Sea will continue, and even escalate, if the United States keeps provoking China.

Foreign spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news conference on Monday that it’s a good tradition of the People’s Liberation Army to rescue people in emergencies, and that the case is quite regular, as it happened on Chinese territory.

The Ministry of National Defense did not comment on the issue as of press time.

In January, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that China had completed an airfield on Yongshu Reef, the country’s southernmost airfield. On Jan 6, two civilian aircraft left Haikou in Hainan province and landed on Yongshu Reef after test flights of nearly two hours.

On Friday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the US aircraft carrier John C. Stennis on the final day of a joint US-Philippine military exercise. Carter told about 9,000 troops that the United States would back up the Philippines and other allies in the region.

Apr. 19, 2016 on China.org.cn

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