Satellite images suggest further military build-up on the Paracel Islands, US researchers say
Satellite images suggest China has upgraded military infrastructure in northern areas of the South China Sea around the disputed Paracel Islands, according to a US think tank.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said on Wednesday that China now occupies 20 outposts in the Paracels and there has been an extensive military buildup on eight islands.
“Three of these now have protected harbours capable of hosting large numbers of naval and civilian vessels. Four others boast smaller harbours, with a fifth under construction at Drummond Island,” the group said on its website.
“Five of the islands contain helipads, with Duncan Island housing a full helicopter base. And the largest of the Paracels, Woody Island, sports an airstrip, hangars and a deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missile batteries.”
The group said further expansion in the future could help Beijing consolidate its presence and project its power in the region.
China has repeatedly promised it will not militarise its man-made islands in the South China Sea.
Full article: China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank (South China Morning Post)