China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank

A satellite image taken last month of Chinese building work on Drummond Island in the Paracels. Photo: Centre for Strategic and International Studies

 

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. Continue reading

U.S. slams Taiwan president’s planned visit to contested South China Sea island

Washington under the current Obama administration have chosen to take sides of its traditional adversaries instead of its traditional allies. Iran being the first major example with the nuclear ‘deal’, turning the entire Middle East into a powder keg and putting Israel’s existence into jeopardy. Now they’re playing into China’s hands by slamming Taiwan, an independent nation the United States is legally bound to protect and defend — despite the interpretations of the Taiwan Relations Act by those who despise Taiwan.

 

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s planned trip to the Taiwanese-held island of Itu Aba in the disputed South China Sea is “extremely unhelpful” and won’t do anything to resolve disputes over the waterway, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Ma’s office earlier announced that the president, who steps down in May, would fly to Itu Aba on Thursday to offer Chinese New Year wishes to residents on the island, mainly Taiwanese coastguard personnel and environmental scholars. Continue reading

China Building Third Airstrip on Disputed South China Sea Islets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China appears to be building a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea, a U.S. expert said on Monday, citing satellite photographs taken last week.

The photographs taken for Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank on Sept. 8 show construction on Mischief Reef, one of several artificial islands China has created in the Spratly archipelago. Continue reading

China Warns Philippines Military to Stay Away from Disputed Territory

China has warned Philippine military planes six times to leave disputed areas of the South China Sea and may be “testing the waters” to see if it can establish a no-fly zone in the region, senior Philippine military officials said.

“As we were conducting routine maritime air patrols and flying in international airspace, our air force aircraft were challenged over the radio,” Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez told a Senate hearing in Manila on Thursday.

While Lopez did not provide a timeframe, another senior Philippine air force official who asked to not be identified told Reuters that the six warnings had come in the past three months. Continue reading

China’s first runway in Spratlys under construction

https://i2.wp.com/www.janes.com/images/assets/714/50714/SCS_-_main.jpg

 

Key Points

  • Satellite imagery shows that China has begun building a runway on reclaimed parts of Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands
  • The imagery, provided by Airbus Defence and Space, also shows China building islands on Subi Reef that if linked up would provide enough land for another airstrip

The 23 March images show a paved section of runway 503 m by 53 m on the northeastern side of Fiery Cross Reef, which China began to turn into an island in late 2014. Paving and ground preparation of other sections of the runway has also begun further along the island. In addition, workers have paved about 400 m by 20 m of apron. Continue reading

China builds military airstrip on disputed island

The newly built facility stretches across Woody Island, part of the Paracel chain, China’s Xinhua news agency said late Tuesday.

The Paracels are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, and tensions between Beijing and Hanoi rose this year over Chinese construction and oil exploration there.

The runway is Beijing’s latest physical assertion of control in the area, two years after it declared a city named Sansha centered on Woody Island — known as Yongxing in Chinese — to administer vast swathes of the South China Sea. Continue reading

US should be worried about China’s artificial island: expert

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. Continue reading