MANILA, Philippines – China appears to be building military bases on reclaimed reefs in the Spratlys, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
The report cited new images of Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef taken as recently as June 28 by Digital Globe and supplied to The Post by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) and Center for Strategic and International Studies.
On Tuesday, China announced that reclamation had finished on “some islands” in the South China Sea.
AMTI reported that an air base appeared to be taking shape on the reef, “with ongoing paving and marking of the airstrip, an added apron, construction of a sensor array and development of additional support facilities.”
Meanwhile, on Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, China is building a small port and two loading stations, two helipads, a large multi-level facility, and what look like three satellite communication antennae, two radar towers, six security and surveillance towers for weapons or sensors, weapons towers and a lighthouse, The Post reported. The facility may draw power from what looks like a solar farm with two wind turbines and 44 panels.
Quoting AMTI director Mira Rapp-Hooper, the report said the facilities have “all the trappings” of military capabilities and applications.
While AMTI acknowledged that land reclamation appeared to have ended on five of seven islands, images taken between June 5 and 10 show reclamation continuing on Panganiban (Mischief Reef) and Zamora (Subi) Reef off Palawan. The images can be accessed on the AMTI website.