|Hangars large enough to hold: Fighter jets (red) Bombers, tankers or transport planes (yellow)||Subi Reef
July 24, 2016.|
When President Xi Jinping of China visited President Obama at the White House last September, he startled many with reassuring words ... “China does not intend to pursue militarization,” Mr. Xi said, referring to the area as the Nansha Islands, a Chinese name for what most of the rest of the world calls the Spratlys in the South China Sea.
The most recent satellite photographs suggest a different plan. The photos show the construction of reinforced aircraft hangars at Subi, Mischief Reef, and Fiery Cross, all part of the disputed territories.
July 22, 2016.|
While China asserts the structures are for civilian aircraft or other nonmilitary functions, analysts say the satellite photos strongly suggest otherwise. Besides their size, all show signs of structural strengthening.
“They are far thicker than you would build for any civilian purpose,” Gregory B. Poling, director of the center’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, said in a telephone interview. “They’re reinforced to take a strike.”
|Fiery Cross Reef June 3, 2016|