A war footing emerges in the South China Sea

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Navy personnel of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy take part in a military display in the South China Sea April 12, 2018. Picture taken April 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

 

China’s recent deployment of nuclear-capable bombers, missiles and jamming devices has drastically shifted the contested area’s strategic calculus

China’s deployment of H-6k bombers to disputed land features in the South China Sea has provoked an uproar across the region and beyond while raising considerably the potential for armed conflict.

China’s bombers are capable of conducting nuclear strikes and have an operational range of more than 1,000 nautical miles. This places practically all other claimant states in the contested maritime area within their crosshairs. Continue reading

China ‘crosses threshold’ with missiles at South China Sea outposts

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PLA soldiers march near a sign on the Spratly Islands. China lays claim to almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. Photo: Reuters

 

Anti-ship missiles reportedly allow China to strike vessels within a 295 nautical mile radius of man-made islands

The news comes less than a month after The Wall Street Journal reported that “military jamming equipment” had been installed on the Spratly Islands, one of the locations also identified in the report this week.

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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