PH ‘within striking distance’: China seen gearing up for full naval base operations on Kagitingan Reef


MANILA, Philippines—China’s biggest military transport plane landed recently on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross) in the West Philippine Sea, giving a glimpse of what could happen if the Chinese base there becomes fully operational.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Y-20 transporter was spotted on Kagitingan Reef last Dec. 25, Hong Kong-based news agency South China Morning Post reported last Friday (Jan. 1).

Satellite images of the Chinese plane’s presence on the reef were posted by Ken Joyce, director of product management of American space technology company Maxar Technologies. The plane was not observed loading or unloading cargo.

The report identified the Y-20 built by the Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation as the biggest aircraft in China’s military fleet.

Kagitingan Reef was said to be the base of one of the districts named by China in the West Philippine Sea. This had been protested by the Philippine government.

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