China needs 3rd runway in Spratly Islands to break US grip in South China Sea if tensions escalate, experts say

Comments come after US think tank says satellite imagery indicates preparatory work on third airstrip in Spratly Islands, on Mischief Reef

Beijing needs to build a third airstrip in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands to meet its long-term strategic goal of being a true blue-water navy, Chinese military experts say.

Their remarks came after the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in the United States said satellite imagery taken on September 8 showed China appeared to be carrying out preparatory work for a third runway, this time on Mischief Reef. Continue reading

PLA has spent 10 years to build a blue-water navy: US expert

Between 2004 and 2006, the People’s Liberation Army Navy kept itself within the region known as the First Island Chain in the Pacific, extending from Alaska to the Philippines, to avoid direct confrontation with the United States and its security partners. But the PLA Navy enhanced training in disciplines that enabled it to take steps toward conducting operations further from China’s coast into the “blue water” of the open ocean, he wrote. Continue reading