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China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands

Updated

By Reuters

China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017.  (CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017.
(CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN)

The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing’s claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China’s help in reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.

In February, Reuters reported that China had nearly finished building structures to house long-range surface-to-air missiles on the three islands.

On Mischief Reef, a very large antennae array is being installed that presumably boosts Beijing’s ability to monitor the surroundings, the think tank said, adding that the installation should be of concern to the Philippines due to its proximity to an area claimed by Manila.

A large dome recently was installed on Fiery Cross and another is under construction, indicating a sizeable communications or radar system, AMTI said. Two more domes are being built at Mischief Reef, it said.

A smaller dome has been installed near the missile shelters on Mischief, “indicating that it could be connected to radars for any missile systems that might be housed there,” AMTI said.

“Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time,” it said.

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Comments (9)

  • Avatar

    Constitutional_Rights

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    In reality DuDirty wanted China to transform the occupied island into military fortress to guard him against any coup and doesn’t care should Chinese presence is like a dagger pointed on the neck of Filipinos. All he care about is his personal ideology as known communist party member and collaboration with NPAs/NDFs and muslim rebels in pursuit of having a revolutionary government.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      angpilipinongayon

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      And you are wrong.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Constitutional_Rights

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        You need to expound why I was wrong should really understand the real scenario. If you can’t just stay in Divisoria and sell your stuff and you might be rewarded.

        Reply

        • Avatar

          angpilipinongayon

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          You must be the one that needs justification, when you accuse someone of wrong doing, you will justify by adding irrefutable evidence.
          You accuse Duterte of:
          1. Wanted China to transform the A islands into military bases
          2. You accuse Duterte of begging China to perform #1 to protect him from coup (REALLY???) this one can easily be refuted, but you must do your homework
          3. Duterte is all about his personal ideology
          4. Duterte is a member of a “known” communisty party
          5. He collaborated with NPA/NDF
          6. He collaborated with Muslim rebels in pursuit of establishing a revolutionary government

          You must file an impeachment case next year, SIR, with all the evidence you gather from alternate universe.

          Reply

          • Avatar

            Constitutional_Rights

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            I am not sure what is website forum is all about. It is public opinion of what a person knows, grievances on how democracy and rule of law is applied, personal agenda and ideology. If you are asking to file impeachment you go back to your mother and start again drinking milk. This forum doesn’t need a low bobotante like. Goodbye.

  • Avatar

    tarikan

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    The very first persons to defend China in its militarization of SCS/WPS including our EEZ are people now occupying Malacanan supported by hunghang DDS.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    john appleseed

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    Rody, are you still looking for your jet ski?
    I have a Philippine flag you can use.
    Rody…?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Dante

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    dapat tabihan na american base yang mga yan para mawalan na halaga..pagalis ni duterte tyak papaligiran ng american carrier yan..

    Reply

  • Avatar

    raven OCHAVO

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    its a fixed target

    Reply

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