• China builds radar on Spratly islands

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    BEIJING: China is installing radar facilities on its artificial islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), an American think tank has said, in a move that could “significantly change” the operational landscape.

    Satellite imagery of Cuarteron Reef on Spratly islands released by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) shows what appears to be a high-frequency radar installation, as well as a lighthouse, underground bunker, helipad and other communications equipment.

    The photographs come only a week after US officials said China had deployed surface-to-air missiles on the Paracel islands further north, and with tensions mounting in the strategically vital region.

    “Placement of a high frequency radar on Cuarteron Reef would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic coming north from the Malacca Straits and other strategically important channels,” said CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.

    Images of other small reefs nearby that China has transformed into artificial islands — Gaven, Hughes and Johnson South — revealed other features identified by CSIS as possible radar towers, gun emplacements, bunkers, helipads and quays.

    CSIS said while earlier deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles was “notable,” it “does not alter the military balance in the South China Sea.”

    But it went on: “New radar facilities being developed in the Spratlys, on the other hand, could significantly change the operational landscape.”

    The US had in recent months sent warships to sail within 12 nautical miles — the usual territorial limit around natural land — of a disputed island and one of China’s artificial constructions in what it says is a defense of the right to free passage.

    Beijing claims almost the whole of the South China Sea — through which a third of the world’s oil passes — while several other littoral states have competing claims, as does Taiwan.

    Last week, China confirmed it had placed “weapons” on Woody Island in the Paracels, defending what it said was its sovereign right to do so.

    Beijing says it defends the right to freedom of navigation, and insists its island-building aims to provide public goods, such as search and rescue facilities, but maintains it has the right to deploy necessary “self-defense” capabilities.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was heading to Washington on Tuesday for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, where the issue was expected to be on the agenda.

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    2 Comments

    1. China is inviting war with US and other nations of the world. US and EU have warned them of the consequences. We hope US and Europe give what China is looking for, it maybe painful option, its an option the modern civilization doesn’t want to happen. However, in the light of the current situation, war seems to be the only option to stop China. Certainly, Chian they don’t learn the mistake of Japan and, Germany and others.

      You need war to maintain peace, we don’t want it. But if its the only option, do it and get it done.

    2. China ultimate goal is to consolidate all the island on the Spratleys by grabbing them by force. Let our government not be naive this time and must tackle the issue with urgency.The immediate couter measure to the brazen act of the Chinese is to let the American establish a foothold in Palawan or Mindanao.The sinister Dragon in our backyard is getting fiercer and bolder by the day.Let us not be caught sleeping or we would regret it forever.