Pentagon report: China advances in taking military control of strategic Pacific sea lanes

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers patrol Woody Island in the Paracel Archipelago. / Reuters

 

China is using non-military “coercion” in an effort to gain control of strategic waters in the Asian Pacific, the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress released on June 6.

“China continues to exercise low-intensity coercion to advance its claims in the East and South China Seas,” the report said, adding that Beijing’s tactic involves the use of “timed progression of incremental but intensifying steps to attempt to increase effective control over disputed areas and avoid escalation to military conflict.” Continue reading

Exclusive: China installs weapons systems on artificial islands – U.S. think tank

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A satellite image shows what CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says appears to be anti-aircraft guns and what are likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) on the artificial island Johnson Reef in the South China Sea A satellite image shows what CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says appears to be anti-aircraft guns and what are likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) on the artificial island Johnson Reef in the South China Sea in this image released on December 13, 2016. Courtesy CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

AMTI said it had been tracking construction of hexagonal structures on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs in the Spratly Islands since June and July. China has already built military length airstrips on these islands. Continue reading

China building aircraft hangars on disputed islands in South China Sea, says US think tank

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Construction work on one of the reefs in the South China Sea. Photo: Centre for Strategic and International Studies

 

Satellite images show construction work on three reefs in the Spratly chain

China appears to be building reinforced aircraft hangars on reclaimed islands it controls in a disputed area of the South China Sea, according to a US think tank.

Satellite photographs taken in late July show the construction of hangars on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly chain of islands and some have already been completed, according to a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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PLA base on Fiery Cross Reef could tip balance in South China Sea

Over the past year, Beijing has been particularly aggressive in conducting reclamation activities on Chinese-controlled reefs and islets in the Spratlys, parts of which are which are also claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Following the most recent period of construction, China is said to have essentially “created” five new islands from existing reefs, including Fiery Cross Reef, which has reportedly become the largest island in the Spratlys. Continue reading