Two helipads, up to 10 satellite communications antennas and one possible radar tower were visible on Fiery Cross Reef, where Beijing is believed to have carried out the most extensive reclamation works among the islets it occupies.
Beijing has been expressed outrage over the recently updated United States National Military Strategy, which called Chinese claims in the South China Sea worrisome and “inconsistent with worldwide law”.
Beijing. China on Monday accused the Philippines of spreading misinformation and “creating the illusion of the victim” in their dispute over the South China Sea after Manila aired a three-part documentary defending its position.
AMTI Director Mira Rapp-Hooper says the facilities have “all the trappings” of military capabilities and applications and would improve China’s ability to monitor other nations’ activities in the disputed Spratly Islands.
Beijing has reinforced its claim by building artificial islands on disputed reefs.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States was pushing unfounded exaggerations. Previous photos showed a small lake in the middle of the island with additional support facilities, including a naval vessel, the analysts said.
“Certainly, our relevant construction will also include satisfying the necessary military defence needs”, she added.
The facilities, she added, will mainly provide various civilian services, and will enable China “to better perform its worldwide obligations and responsibilities in areas such as maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, marine scientific research, meteorological observation, ecological environment conservation, navigation safety as well as fishery production service”.
If the shipping channels and islands of the South China Sea are now counted as “core interests” by China, then it is likely to continue to push for greater control over the sea and the $5 trillion in shipping that passes through it each year.
China is embarking on an aggressive and rapid reclamation program in Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs, areas that also being claimed by the Philippines.
A day later, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said changing position on China’s claims to the South China Sea would shame the country’s ancestors, while not facing up to infringements of Chinese sovereignty there would shame its children.
The Chinese refer to Spratly Islands as Nansha Islands.
The report also criticized China for its military spending, which it said is now 41 times higher than in fiscal 1989.