Taiwan Livid After China Secretly Installs Cruise Missiles On Contested Spratly Islands

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Tensions continue to flare up in the South China Sea, as Beijing has reportedly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the region, as reported by CNBC on Wednesday, which cited sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports. The missiles have reportedly been installed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef.

The land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, designated as YJ-12B, allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs. Meanwhile, the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. –CNBC

As we’ve documented again and again (and again and again), China’s military buildup in the Pacific, particularly surrounding the Spratly Islands, a collection of small islands, cays and atolls in the South China Sea, is one of the greatest long-term risks to peace and stability in the US and many of China’s neighbors, who have territorial claims in the region that may conflict with China’s. Continue reading

Reclamation by China makes Hughes Reef 200 times former size

Hughes Reef in the Spratly Islands is now 200 times its former size thanks to China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, reports the UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly. Continue reading

China’s new satellite is said to spot pot fields, smuggler routes

China has poured billions of dollars into building a nationwide surveillance network – by one 2013 estimate, the country had 30 million surveillance cameras in parks, on highways and even in taxis.

Now, there’s one more very powerful eye in the sky allowing authorities to keep tabs on things: the Gaofen-1 satellite, which is capturing high-resolution images from 300 miles above the Earth.

Analyses of images captured by Gaofen-1 have enabled Chinese police to locate fields of opium poppy and marijuana in northern China and uncover dozens of routes used by smugglers at the border with North Korea and along the frontier in the restive Xinjiang region, the official New China News Agency reported Monday. Continue reading