China Building Airstrip in Spratly Islands, Satellite Images Show

BEIJING—Fresh satellite imagery released Thursday shows that China has begun building a concrete runway on reclaimed land around a disputed reef in the South China Sea, according to the defense intelligence provider IHS Jane’s. The airstrip is China’s first in the disputed Spratly Islands, defense experts say, and it appears to be big enough for fighter jets, transport planes and surveillance aircraft, significantly enhancing Beijing’s capability to patrol the skies in the area. China’s island-building in the Spratlys in the last year has raised fresh concerns in the region and…

China’s Fake South China Sea Islands Could Become More Trouble Than They’re Worth

Key point: The islands of the SCS have some military relevance, but are more important as a political claim to waterways and undersea resources. China has built some islands in the South China Sea. Can it protect them? During World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic liability, as Japan struggled to keep them supplied with food, fuel and equipment. The islands of the SCS…

China Coast Guard entering foreign waters via artificial islands

China Coast Guard entering foreign waters via artificial islands Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) – February 1, 2020 – 12:00am MANILA, Philippines — China is now capitalizing on its artificial island military bases in the West Philippine Sea to advance its massive maritime and territorial claims deeper into Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei waters in the South China Sea, a US-based think tank reported. In its latest report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said that Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ships monitored last month…

U.S. Navy sails warship near disputed islands in South China Sea for first time in 2020

The U.S. Navy told The Japan Times on Tuesday that it had sailed a warship near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea — home to fortified island islands built by China — on Saturday, in what was believed to be the first freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) of 2020. A spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the USS Montgomery, an advanced littoral combat ship, had “asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law.” The latest FONOP “upheld the rights, freedoms…

Indonesia mobilises fishermen in stand-off over Natuna Islands

“We want to mobilise our fishermen from the north coast and maybe in turn from other areas to operate by fishing there and other things,” Mahfud said. Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, said last week it was sending more warships to the area. Six Indonesian ships were there now and four more were on the way, said head of the Maritime Security Agency’s sea operations sub-directorate Imam Hidayat. A map showing China’s nine-dash line, Indonesia’s territorial waters and the Natuna Islands.Credit:The New York Times China claims much of…

Da Nang to establish library for documents on Paracel Islands

They were handed over by Dang Thanh Tung, head of the State Records Management and Archives Department at a ceremony on Saturday. He said the documents show the establishment and exercising of Vietnamese sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands by the Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled from 1802 to 1945. They also include one, made public for the first time, which is a report by the Ministry of Revenue in 1869 detailing Da Nang authorities’ allocation of rice to help 540 people from China’s Fujian Province…

The 1 Downside to Building Fake Islands China Didn’t See Coming

Key point: Beijing’s artificial islands are a double-edged sword. China can use them to project power but they are also a lot more places that Beijing will have to try and defend. China has built some islands in the South China Sea. Can it protect them? During World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic liability, as Japan struggled to keep them supplied with food,…

Chinese firm in Sangley airport project helped build South China Sea artificial islands

Chinese firm in Sangley airport project helped build South China Sea artificial islands Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) – January 17, 2020 – 12:08pm MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese state-owned firm that will handle the development of Sangley airport in Cavite is the same company that helped build Beijing’s artificial islands in the South China Sea. The tandem of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) was the sole bidder for the Sangley Point International Airport project. The provincial government of Cavite earlier said it would award…

Are China’s South China Sea Artificial Islands Militarily Significant and Useful? – The Diplomat

Flashpoints | Security | East Asia China’s artificial islands are a symbol of its revisionism in the South China Sea, but they’re also militarily significant. Advertisement Are China’s seven artificial islands in the Spratly Group in the South China Sea liable to complicate U.S. freedom of maneuver in a conflict in East Asia? In a recent article at War on the Rocks, Gregory Poling makes the case that the islands have “considerable military value for Beijing,” contrary to some conventional wisdom that has written off the value of these facilities in a conflict. Poling’s…

Indonesia asks Japan to invest in South China Sea islands

(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo yesterday asked Japan to step up investment in fisheries and energy in some of its South China Sea islands following a stand-off with China in waters that China claims in the area. Widodo made the request for Japan to consider economic opportunities in the Natuna islands during a visit to Jakarta by Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the president’s office said in a statement. ‘I want to invite Japan to invest in Natuna, he told Motegi, adding that Japan was one of…