Wendell Minnick
Wendell Minnick

China is building up its military capacity in the South China Sea by constructing an airstrip at the Fiery Cross Reef, reports defense analyst Wendell Minnick based on regional media reports, in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

China appears to be constructing an airstrip and sea port on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, according to regional media reports, in a move that looks like the next step in its efforts to claim the entirety of a water area roughly the size of India.

The expansion is part of numerous reef reclamation efforts being made by China, said Guy Stitt, president of AMI International Naval Analysts & Advisors. “China continues its slow fortification of the claims within its 9-Dash Line,” which outlines China’s purported “indisputable sovereignty” of the South China Sea.

China has active expansion programs on Gaven Reef and Cuarteron Reef, and the placement of a port and airstrip on Fiery Cross or any of the others would “be used to counter a US presence in the Philippines,” said Carl Thayer, a professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

More at Defense News.

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