Pentagon warns of China's island-building in the South China Sea
Finally, the Department of Defense is officially taking note of China’s aggressive moves to assert sovereignty over disputed areas in the South China Sea. But it is just beginning to catch up to the danger American Thinker has been warning of. This report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015” is a good first step. Fox News and the AP summarize:
China's mysterious campaign to build artificial islands in disputed waters of the South China Sea has grown to cover roughly 2,000 acres, a senior defense official said Friday, as the Pentagon issued a report warning the sites could be used to bolster the country's military infrastructure.
The assessments provide an unprecedented level of detail on what China is suspected of pursuing with its so-called "land reclamation" project, which the Defense Department now describes as "extensive." (snip)
The DOD report warned that while Beijing's island construction intent is unclear, five emerging outposts in the Spratly Islands could be used for surveillance systems, harbors and logistical support. The report said they could also hold "at least one airfield." According to the Defense Department, work at four of the five sites has shifted to mainly development and construction.
The report described how China has "excavated deep channels and built new berthing areas to allow access for larger ships to the outposts."
The DoD obviously does not want to be alarmist, but the pattern is much more serious than this cautious language indicates. David Archibald has been informing AT readers for some time on what is really going on: preparation for war. This is more than innocent territorial claim-building, as David explained here:
While America is preoccupied with the Middle East, evidence accumulates that China is actively preparing for the launch of a war with Japan. Just over a week after I wrote this article on evidence of China’s preparations for an attack, Janes on 22 January published this image from 13 October 2014 of the helipads under construction in the Nanji Islands:
The image shows the construction of ten helipads with trenching around them. The trenching would be for individual fuel lines to each helipad. This is an expeditionary helipad complex. Flights of ten helicopters would fly in from the mainland, refuel as quickly as possible, and then fly on to the Senkakus.
This kind of refueling arrangement is done only if you are going to war. In about 1937, a Royal Air Force pilot visiting a German airbase realized that a war was coming when he saw the refuelling points around the airbase’s apron.
It is good that the Pentagon is openly noting what is going on. Evidence exists that beyond the public sphere, the danger is being recognized and responded to. But the public remains blissfully unaware of the severity of the threat. For domestic political reasons, a corrupt and self-serving political elite needs to whip up nationalism in order to justify its continued undemocratic rule of a billion-plus talented and energetic people. China is playing with fire.