China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands: think tank


Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017. MANDATORY CREDIT CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017. MANDATORY CREDIT CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017. MANDATORY CREDIT CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017. MANDATORY CREDIT CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to Reuters on June 29, 2017. MANDATORY CREDIT CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout via REUTERS

China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing’s claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China’s help in reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.

In February, Reuters reported that China had nearly finished building structures to house long-range surface-to-air missiles on the three islands.

On Mischief Reef, a very large antennae array is being installed that presumably boosts Beijing’s ability to monitor the surroundings, the think tank said, adding that the installation should be of concern to the Philippines due to its proximity to an area claimed by Manila.

A large dome recently was installed on Fiery Cross and another is under construction, indicating a sizeable communications or radar system, AMTI said. Two more domes are being built at Mischief Reef, it said.

A smaller dome has been installed near the missile shelters on Mischief, “indicating that it could be connected to radars for any missile systems that might be housed there,” AMTI said.

“Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time,” it said.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: Reuters “China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands: think tank”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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5 Comments on “China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands: think tank”

  1. Anon says:

    Google has dropped Chinese names for the reefs in order to undermine Chinese claims to these landmarks which has been its domain for at least 600 years.

    Spratly Islands – Nansha Islands
    Mischief Reef – Meiji island
    Fiery Cross – Yongshu island
    Subi Reef – Zhubi island

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  2. Joseph says:

    For the very least, Reuters writes it right this time, ‘a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.’ It is after all American problem, not ASEAN. ASEAN has no problem with it, and would not raise tensions. At least Reuters understands now that ASEAN does not want to be dictated by America and its Western cronies. They want to make problem with China, go ahead. Do not involve us. If Philippines wants to announce a protest, he would have done it with his fiery temper, not through a questionable bias media like Reuters. He is the president elected by Philippines people, not by the West who always undermines him. Fair enough?

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    • Anon says:

      “China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.”

      U.S. think-tank? You mean a Washington funded mouth-piece to support Washington’s position publicly on any matter? A tool to manipulate public perception. Or to put it more bluntly, a brainwashing and a propaganda tool.

      Hypocrite Washington should remove ALL its military bases in East Asia and the world BEFORE it can tell others to stop “militarizing” anything.

      The East is NOT Washington’s. Yongshu. Meiji and Zhubi is not yours to dictate. Go home Yankees.

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  3. steve says:

    US FON, CHINA FUN. China may need to extend island sizes in the near term.

    Like

  4. Fre Okin says:

    This is a reward for American FON around Mischief Reef and flying nuke capable bombers into the Spratlys. The more the Americans annoy China, the more China build up defenses on her islands. What do idiots like Harris expect with his call for more FON? Further with more subs VN acquire, it is natural for China to further build up defense on Fiery Cross Reef.

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