United States officials claimed that China has installed military jamming equipment on fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea which will allow Beijing to block enemy radar and communications systems.
This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days.
The Journal quoted a U.S. Defense Department official who said that China “deployed military jamming equipment to its Spratly Island outposts” in the southern part of the sea. The claim was reportedly backed by satellite images provided by commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe. China’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
The images showed what is believed to be a jamming system with its antenna extended on Mischief Reef, one of seven fortified artificial Spratly outposts. China has been constructing such bases since 2014. Existing reefs and rocks are covered with sand and eventually concrete, creating military bases in the middle of the ocean.