China is not even pretending anymore in the South China Sea — it put 400 buildings on one of the disputed islands


Satellite imagery shows that China has put nearly 400 buildings on Subi Reef in the South China Sea.
Data shows that the number of buildings on Subi Reef is about double that on China’s other large outposts in the hotly contested region, known as the Spratly Islands.
Experts are concerned about China’s increasing militarization of the South China Sea, and they say it may plan to host a large number of troops on Subi Reef.
Satellite imagery shows nearly 400 buildings on a reef occupied by China in the South China Sea, and experts say it indicates Beijing might eventually deploy troops there.

Using images from DigitalGlobe satellites, the nonprofit Earthrise Media analyzed photos of Subi Reef, which is closer to Vietnam and the Philippines than mainland China, and discovered that a large number of buildings, parade grounds, radar equipment, and even basketball courts had been built since 2014.

There were nearly 400 permanent, free-standing buildings, Earthrise’s founder, Dan Hammer, told Reuters. Subi has seen the most construction by any country on an island in the South China Sea, the news outlet reported.

Subi is China’s largest man-made island within the Spratly archipelago, parts of which are claimed by several countries. Citing Earthrise data, Reuters reported that Subi has about double the number of buildings on each of China’s next two largest islands in the region.