Vassily Kashin, a Russian defense expert from the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, says the amount of money spent by China to build an artificial island in a disputed part of the South China Sea is enough to build a brand-new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, according to the Voice of Russia.
Quoting a report by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post from June 7, Kashin referred to plans for an artificial island with an airstrip and sea port on Fiery Cross Reef, part of the disputed Spratly archipelago which is under Chinese control and which already houses facilities built by China. A budget of about US$5 billion has reportedly been proposed for the expansion project, which would permit the People’s Liberation Army to have a new base in the region where territorial disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam in particular have been hotting up.
The PLA’s force projection capability will be increased gradually after the artificial island is completed, Kashin said. The expanded facilities would permit the PLA to strengthen its defense position through the deployment of air defense missiles such as the HQ-9 and S-400. Furthermore, the PLA would be able to launch offensives with helicopters and amphibious assault vessels from the base.
Full article: US should be worried about China’s artificial island: expert (Want China Times)