China Flexes Military Muscle, Building ‘Very Large Underground Structures’ in South China Sea

Latest news

    A report updated this week suggests that China has continued to build advanced military facilities on illegally seized reefs and artificial islands in the South China Sea, as the anniversary of an international tribunal ruling against China on the matter nears.

    The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published an update to its regular report on the Spratly Islands on Thursday, where China has constructed major surveillance facilities and placed military assets.

    CSIS satellite images show new construction on three land formations: Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs. Mischief Reef boasts the beginnings of what appears to be “a very large antennae array … presumably boosting China’s ability to monitor activity around the feature.” Fiery Cross Reef features new “hardened shelters with retractable roofs,” which could serve to house missiles. Subi Reef appears equipped with new radar and surveillance equipment.

    Any new surveillance equipment could pose a challenge to the Philippines and Vietnam, particularly oil exploration units or fishermen attempting to use the sovereign territory of either of these countries. In March, China banned Vietnam from fishing in its own territory in the Paracel Islands, a South China Sea archipelago, and has attacked and sunk Vietnamese fishing vessels on multiple occasions.

    This month, Vietnam and China canceled a bilateral “Border Defense Friendly Exchange,” allegedly “due to Chinese displeasure at Vietnam’s resumption of oil exploration activities in the South China Sea,” according to the Diplomat. Following the break in that meeting, the Chinese state propaganda outlet Global Times quoted an “analyst” accusing Vietnam of “undermin[ing] the stability of the South China Sea, and violat[ing] China’s sovereignty and maritime rights.”

    In addition to the new construction in the Spratly Islands, the CSIS notes that China appears to be constructing “very large underground structures” at a number of reefs in the area. The result of all the new construction, the experts conclude, is that “Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time.”

    The Spratly Islands are the sovereign territory of Vietnam and the Philippines. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including land belonging to those two countries as well as Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and the waters off of Natuna island, Indonesia.

    In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled that China has no right to build military facilities in the Spratly or Paracel Islands, and that all its claims within the “nine-dash line” territory were invalid. China vowed to ignore the ruling, and no country in the region has challenged China’s presence there militarily.

    The Chinese military has continued to expand its mobile maritime capabilities as well as the constructions on islands in the region. This week, China deployed some aircraft weaponry to Hainan island, near the “nine-dash line territories,” according to DefenseNews.

    On Wednesday, the People’s Liberation Army also debuted a new warship “equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons,” according to state-run news outlet Xinhua. Reuters describes the warship as a “new generation” destroyer, the first in what the Chinese government says will be a series of eighteen warships.

    The United States has repeatedly condemned China’s growing illegal presence in the South China Sea. In early June, Secretary of Defense James Mattis demanded China cease “militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims,” earning an outraged response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

    View the original article:

    “The Chinese side has noted their irresponsible remarks and hereby expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded. “It is totally within China’s sovereignty to deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory.”

    In the same category are

    Sarah Sanders to Laura Bush: Trump Trying to Fix Law that Your Husband Signed White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to a sharply critical Washington Post op-ed penned by former First Lady Laura Bush addressing Pres...
    Kim Jong-Un Sends Happy Birthday Flowers to Xi Jinping North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un sent Chinese President Xi Jinping a floral basket on Friday to congratulate him on his 65th birthday, as relations b...
    Trump and Kim to Discuss Details of North Korean Denuclearization The United States and North Korea are scheduled to begin discussing the details of denuclearization this week. According to President Donald Trump, he...
    Trump Orders Up to $400B in Tariffs if China Does Not Change Trade Practices President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion in Chinese products on which to levy tariffs in response to Chin...
    EXCLUSIVE – Pat Caddell: IG Report on Hillary Case Contains Enough ‘Indictable Incidents’ for Special Prosecutor NEW YORK — The report released last week by the Justice Department’s Inspector General into the government’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a priva...
    Donald Trump: Criminals Using Children to Enter the United States President Donald Trump reminded critics of his tough immigration policy on Monday that criminals were using children to cross the Southern border. “Ch...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.