BEIJING — China has opened an international tsunami warning center to serve countries bordering on the South China Sea, oceanic officials announced on Feb 8.
The center, built and managed by China, monitors major earthquake subduction zones — where the Earth plates converge — in the South China, Sulu and Sulawesi seas and provides 24-hour uninterrupted warning services, said Wang Hua, a State Oceanic Administration (SOA) official.
The South China Sea region is prone to tsunamis and littoral countries have, until now, relied on services provided by US citizen and Japanese warning centers.
The warning center was proposed in 2009. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC/UNESCO) approved an SOA plan.
Wang said the center was the result of practical maritime cooperation between countries around the South China Sea.
Yuan Ye, director of the National Tsunami Warning Center, said China is now capable of warning the public of a tsunami eight to ten minutes after an earthquake.