Vietnam plans to power up its Spratly Islands

By    June 9, 2016 | 03:42 am PT
Vietnam plans to power up its Spratly Islands
Workers are building high voltage overhead power lines for electric power transmission and distribution to nearly 2,000 households on Lai Son Island, Kien Hai district, Kien Giang province. The project was worth VND468 billion. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the country’s power monopoly, said it had finished surveying the Spratly Islands to build a power grid across the archipelago, Vietnam News Agency reported yesterday.

State utility EVN is seeking the government’s approval to hook up all the islands in the Spratly Archipelago to the national grid.

The company and the country’s Naval High Command will work on a detailed plan on how to build, manage and operate the power system, EVN executive Pham Manh Thang said.

The project is aimed at “improving the living standards of soldiers and people on the islands who are resolutely determined to protect the country’s sacred sovereignty,” Thang added.

EVN had reached 98.76 percent of households across the country as of the beginning of this year, the group said.

Vietnam’s sole retail power supplier EVN aims to boost transport capacity and cut power outages in rural areas, mountainous regions and offshore islands over the next four years.

The Spratly Archipelago consists of 100 small islands and reefs.

Starting in 2013, China began a concerted effort to establish large, artificial islands throughout the Spratlys that it took from Vietnamese forces in 1988.

China's claim to most of the South China Sea, or Vietnam’s East Sea, shown on maps as a nine-dash line, overlaps the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in an interview with foreign journalists after a three-day visit by U.S. President Barack Obama late last month that Vietnam was not pursuing a military buildup over the sea and would work with allies to seek peaceful solutions to disputes without the use of force.

Related news:

> Vietnam PM says won't pursue military buildup in the East Sea

> Vietnam Navy opens General Giap Park in Spratly Islands

> Vietnam opposes China sending military aircraft to Spratly Islands

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