New satellite imagery of remote islands in the South China Sea shows several Chinese island-building projects are finished. In five of seven island projects, attention has turned to the next phase: building bases with potential military uses on the islands.
Photos taken as recently as June 28 show extensive construction work on two of the islands, Fiery Cross Reef and Johnson South Reef, to build an airstrip, helipads, a radar dome, and what looks like satellite communication facilities and a surveillance tower.
Land reclamation work appears complete on five of the seven islands, but is continuing on Mischief Reef and Subi Reef.
The images were provided to the Post by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a watchdog group that monitors territorial claims and events in East Asian waters.
China has been spotted building artificial islands in the South China Sea recently by dumping massive amounts of sand onto below-sea-level coral reefs.
The United States and other countries have publicly asked China to end its land reclamation efforts in the region known as the Spratly Islands.
In China’s view, though, it is merely protecting and making use of its legally owned land. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry recently asserted in a statement that its actions are legal because the reefs “fall within the scope of China’s sovereignty.”
The images below show Chinese land reclamation projects at seven locations in the Spratly Islands. [...]