Satellite photographs uncover that China is working up its military presence at the reefs that they turned into a man-made island, constructed facilities, airstrips and a newly built military hangar in the Spratly archipelago.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington thoroughly studied and scrutinized all of the collected satellite images and it showed that China constructed and reinforced aircraft hangars at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs, which are part of the disputed islands in the Spratly and well within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ)of the Philippines.

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Fiery Cross reef – CSIS image

The hangars are far thicker than you would build for any civilian purpose and are fit enough for jet fighters and even some types of bombers used by Chinese air force. Construction of hangars was photographed on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs late July 2016.

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Mischief reef – CSIS image
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Subi reef – CSIS image

While China may assert that the structures are for civilian aircraft or other nonmilitary functions, the center says its satellite photos strongly suggest otherwise. Besides their size — the smallest hangars are 60 to 70 feet wide, more than enough to accommodate China’s largest fighter jets — all show signs of structural strengthening.

“Aside from a brief visit by a military transport plane to Fiery Cross Reef earlier this year, there is no proof that Beijing has sent fighter aircraft to these Chinese facilities, However, the fast development of strengthened hangars at all three features shows that this is prone to change,” the report said.

Likewise, according to the satellite images, a military grade facilities have also been built on the other reefs,

Satellite images came out nearly a month after an international court in the Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines’ maritime case against China’s and the decision is that there was no basis to Beijing’s claim to extensive territories in the South China Sea – JCE.

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