China has launched a satellite for protection of its maritime rights as the South China Sea dispute continues to boil.
The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellite was launched from Shanxi province on Wednesday.
Gaofen-3, China's first SAR imaging satellite, will be used for weather forecasting, disaster warning, water resource assessments, and the protection of maritime rights, said state-run news agency Xinhua.
The country is locked in a maritime dispute with its neighbours over the South China Sea, which is believed to have large reserves of oil and gas.
Vietnam, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan have also staked claims in the waters.
Though an UN-appointed Permanent Court of arbitration at The Hague rejected China's claims over the South China Sea in June, Beijing rejected the ruling, calling it "illegal".
With 12 imaging modes, the high-definition observation satellite is capable of taking wide pictures of the Earth and photographing detailed scenarios of specific areas.