China is testing a new dredger ship that will greatly enhance its land reclamation capabilities, a state media report said on Sunday, as the country continues to develop facilities in the South China Sea in a bid to strengthen its claims in the waters, Reuters reports. State-run Beijing News newspaper said the Tian Kun began water tests on Friday. A cutter suction dredger is a type of a ship used for large-scale projects to create or reclaim land. Recent satellite images show that China has quietly undertaken more construction and reclamation in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, in a bid to strengthen its grip despite objections from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as the United States. Some experts say China will land its first deployments of jet fighters onto its runways in the Spratly islands in coming months.
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