Col. Jin Zirui of the Chinese Air Force Headquarters justified the ongoing construction of an airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef, one of the islands in the Spratlys that is being disputed by several Asian nations.
The base under construction is intended as support for China’s radar system and gathering of intel, Asahi quoted Col. Jin on Saturday at the Xiangshan Forum, a dialogue that tackled national security issues.
He pointed to China Air Force’s participation in searching for the lost Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet, which had Chinese passengers, as his point of realization that the country’s air force does not have enough capabilities in the area, according to the report.
Col. Jin stressed that they need to establish an operations base in the South China Sea to beef up their nation’s security and guard China’s interest, the report relayed.
But even if there are 50 reefs and islands in the Nansha, as how China refers to the Spratlys, China has the least number under its control and it was “the last to make advances there,” said Jin.