A map recently released by a Washington-based think tank of China’s power projection capabilities in the South China Sea shows the Philippines is within range of Chinese warplanes and missiles.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (Amti) showed that “expected” ranges of China’s capabilities—the Chengdu J-10 multirole fighter aircraft, YJ-62 antiship cruise missiles and HQ-9 surface-to-air missile— could reach Palawan.
All of these military capabilities have been deployed to Woody Island in the Paracels, a group of islands disputed by Vietnam and China.
“Since 2014, China has substantially expanded its ability to monitor and project power throughout the South China Sea via the construction of dual civilian-military bases at its outposts in the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands,” Amti said.
“These include new radar and communications arrays, airstrips and hangars to accommodate combat aircraft, shelters likely meant to house missile platforms, and deployments of mobile surface-to-air and antiship cruise missile systems at Woody Island in the Paracels,” it added.
“For the bases at Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs, fighter and missile ranges represent expected future deployments based on the hangars and shelters built to accommodate those assets,” Amti said.
Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs—all claimed by the Philippines—are known to Filipinos as Kagitingan, Panganiban and Zamora reefs, respectively.