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Pentagon: China Expands Military Activities on Newly Created Islands


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pentagon-china-expands-military-activities-on-newly-created-islandsFree Beacon:

China has expanded construction of manmade islands in the South China Sea to a total of nearly 3,000 acres and is taking steps to militarize the islands for power projection capabilities, according to a Pentagon study made public Friday.

 

The report, “Asia-Pacific Maritime Strategy,” is the Obama administration’s first dedicated study of the increasing destabilization of a vital economic waterway that China is claiming as its maritime domain.

 

“The infrastructure China appears to be building would enable it to establish a more robust power projection presence into the South China Sea,” the 40-page report says.

 

“Its latest land reclamation and construction will also allow it to berth deeper draft ships at outposts; expand its law enforcement and naval presence farther south into the South China Sea; and potentially operate aircraft—possibly as a divert airstrip for carrier-based aircraft—that could enable China to conduct sustained operations with aircraft carriers in the area.”

 

Several groups of islands in the South China Sea are claimed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. They include the Paracels in the northwestern part and the Spratlys in the southeast.

 

The South China Sea boasts maritime trade of about $1.2 trillion annually in ship-borne goods bound for the United States.

 

The report called China’s efforts “destabilizing.”Scissors-32x32.png


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Beijing: What Pivot?

Aug. 22 2015

 

A new report released by the Pentagon on Thursday throws into stark relief China’s stubborn refusal to back down from its aggressive territorial policies in the face of U.S. and regional protests. The Wall Street Journal has more:

 

 

Some U.S. military leaders have pushed the Pentagon to be more aggressive in countering China’s moves in the South China Sea, arguing for more assertive maritime and air patrols to fly within the 12 nautical mile territorial limit of some of the disputed islands that China claims. But some officials inside the Pentagon and at the White House say they have resisted flying such patrols for fear of provoking China. […]

 

(Snip)

 

 

Washington harbors doubts about China’s June 30 announcement that it had completed its land reclamation projects in the Spratly Islands, according to the WSJ. The article also makes clear that the Pentagon thinks China is still on track to militarize the artificial atolls (not excluding the suspiciously airfield-shaped one, notably). What’s more, the report highlights how Beijing has persisted in its strategy of expanding its territory incrementally. According to the Pentagon, as of May China had reclaimed 2,000 acres, and by June it was up another 900.

 

It looks like Beijing isn’t too worried that any U.S. pivot is going to get in the way of its regional ambitions. As we’ve said before, however, China may be gravely mistaken if it assumes that the U.S. won’t ever take more drastic measures to oppose its aggression. In the meantime, President Xi’s visit with President Obama in Washington next month may be rather tense.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Surface Forces: Joint Training Against China

 

September 8, 2015:

 

India and Australia have agreed to hold joint naval exercises off the east coast of India starting September 12th. The exercise will concentrate on surface and aerial anti-submarine exercises. Australia will send a submarine and an AP-3C submarine hunting aircraft. India will send surface warships and one of its new P-8I submarine hunting aircraft. While China is Australia’s biggest export customer (mainly for raw materials) Australia agrees with India that the increasingly aggressive Chinese naval operations are a threat to all nations in the region. In October India will hold similar exercise with Japanese and American naval forces.

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China building third airstrip on disputed South China Sea islets: expert
WASHINGTON David Brunnstrom
Sept. 14 2015

 

 

Zing_Bien_Dong_2.jpg

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015.
Reuters/U.S. Navy

 

 

China appears to be building a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea, a U.S. expert said on Monday, citing satellite photographs taken last week.

The photographs taken for Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank on Sept. 8 show construction on Mischief Reef, one of several artificial islands China has created in the Spratly archipelago. The images show a rectangular area with a retaining wall, 3,000 meters (3,280 yards) long, matching similar work by China on two other reefs, Subi and Fiery Cross, said Greg Poling, director of CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).

"Clearly, what we have seen is going to be a 3,000-meter airstrip and we have seen some more work on what is clearly going to be some port facilities for ships," he said. Security experts say the strip would be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft, giving Beijing greater reach into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia, where it has competing claims with several countries.

News of the work comes ahead of a visit to Washington next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. worries about China's increasingly assertive territorial claims are expected to be high on the agenda.

 

(Snip)

 

 

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