|Japan is set to dispatch its largest warship, the JS Izumo, a helicopter destroyer, on a three-month tour through the South China Sea.|
The Izumo, which costs between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, is 816 feet long and can carry up to 14 helicopters. The vessel will be used primarily for anti-submarine warfare and command-and-control operations. It has two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers for air defense and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems to take on anti-ship missiles. It can carry a crew of around 470 and up to 400 of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force troops.
|China appears to be building a large port in the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
The new construction could be taking place as China continues to militarize other areas of the South China Sea, including the disputed Spratly Islands.|
According to satellite images, China has begun the construction of harbors on North Island, north of Woody Island. China recently expanded a runway on Woody Island and may have deployed surface-to-air missiles in the area. Countries including the United States have condemned China's militarization of the South China Sea.