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 to militarize its artificial islands from 2017: expert

A senior official from the Australian government told Garnaut that China hsd won the first round of its battle for control in the South China Sea by completing the construction of an archipelago of artificial islands. The United States and its allies, including Australia, can do very little to stop China from winning the next round as well, the official said, and the deployment of US warships and aircraft to the region to challenge China’s “unlawful” claims has proved indecisive.

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China’s New Islands Are Clearly Military, U.S. Pacific Chief Says

Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, says the vastly expanded reefs now look exactly like combat bases for fighters, bombers, ships, and surveillance.

ASPEN, Colo. – The top U.S. military officer in the Pacific sternly warned China on Friday to immediately cease its “aggressive coercive island building” in the South China Sea, which he argued was intended clearly for China’s military use as forward operating bases in combat against their regional neighbors.

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said the U.S. would use military force to defend its interests and its allies against any threats from the islands. Continue reading

How Beijing may use South China Sea to create submarine haven

Beijing: For months, China’s visible construction of artificial islands and military facilities in the South China Sea has alarmed  US officials and many of China’s neighbours.

What is happening under the water is also worrisome,  several defence and security analysts say.

China has a growing fleet of nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles. The expansion of its claim on the South China Sea may be intended to create a deep-water sanctuary – known in military parlance as a “bastion” – where its submarine fleet could avoid detection. Continue reading

US preparing to face down China in the South China Sea – while locals expect ‘bonanza of riches’ from return of American sailors

American flags fly fore and aft on the US missile cruiser Shiloh as it docks at a pier across a narrow waterway from decrepit, decaying buildings of an abandoned US naval base at Subic Bay. The dock was once a bulwark of American power in the South China Sea after US forces seized the base from the Spanish in 1899.

At the end of a long walkway from the pier to shore, eager shopkeepers again sell souvenirs and taxi drivers lie in wait for sailors primed for a night of carousing in the bars of Olongapo, the base town in the Philippines. Now, nearly a quarter of a century after the US Navy had to give up its Subic Bay base and the Clark Air Base across the Zambales mountains to the east, Americans are once again ready to defend the Philippines, and the region.

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China puts weapons on its new artificial islands

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China has moved weaponry onto artificial islands that it is building in contested areas of the South China Sea, adding to the risks of a confrontation with the United States and its regional security partners including Australia.

Australian officials are concerned that China could also introduce long-range radar, anti-aircraft guns and regular surveillance flights that will enable it to project military power across a maritime expanse which include some of Australia’s busiest trading lanes. Continue reading

South China Sea dispute: China state paper warns of ‘war’ unless US backs down

This wouldn’t be the first time China has threatened war with the United States. Some years ago, Colonel Meng Xianging said there would be hand-to-hand combat with America within the next ten years. In 2005, Chi Haotian, Vice-Chairman of China’s military commision saying conquering America is a must for its survival and that America must be exterminated. In 2007, China also threatened to nuke the U.S. Dollar — a claim it can still make good on.

What’s more, the average American is too busy following the Kardashians to even know what’s going on outside the national borders, let alone outside their own homes.

 

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Beijing: A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that “war is inevitable” between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway.

The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country’s “most important bottom line”.

The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China’s land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. China last week said it was “strongly dissatisfied” after a US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability. Continue reading

China pursuing huge South China Sea land reclamation: US

China has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea this year, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, US officials said Friday.

The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, officials said.

“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” said a US defense official. Continue reading