China is planning to set up a communication network to link islands in the East Sea, including Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency said Thursday the network will be designed by the Hainan Communications Administration.
It will include 51 base stations on islands, 104 base stations on boats and eight undersea cables, and cover islands in the East Sea, including the two above-mentioned archipelagoes and Scarborough Shoal - a disputed territory claimed by both China and the Philippines.
According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, the planned network is part of China's bid to "tighten its grip" on these island groups, which were designated by China as Sansha city of Hainan province.
It also noted that the communication networks operated by China's three leading telecom companies - China Mobile, China Telecom and China United Telecom - cover all territories within 70 km off the coastline of Hainan province.