Last week IHS Jane’s reported that satellite images from October 2014 show that China is building a heliport with 10 landing pads and wind turbines on Nanji Island, which is one of 52 islands on an archipelago that is part of Zhejiang province. Nanji Islands is only 300 km from the disputed Senkaku Islands. By contrast, Okinawa— which hosts major U.S. and Japanese military bases— are 400 km away from the disputed islands.
Japan’s Kyodo News, citing unidentified Chinese officials, first reported the military buildup late last month. According to that report, “Several large radar installations have been built at high points on the main Nanji Island. Several landing strips have been paved, likely for use by aircraft based on warships or patrol vessels, and more landing strips are set to be built on an island adjacent to Nanji Island from around next year.” The satellite data Jane’s reviewed found no evidence of any airstrips being built on the island, but it did say that “existing radar and communications sites are clear from the imagery.”
The new base is also consistent with China’s recent moves in the South China Sea, where it is undertaking a massive reclamation project to establish several military bases near disputed islands in those waters. This includes an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.
Full article: Confirmed: China Is Building a Military Base Near Japan (The National Interest)