- China is building concrete hangars in the West Philippine Sea as shown by new satellite photos
- The photos show that at least two dozens of concrete hangars are being constructed which will be accommodating fighter jets and large planes
- The photos were reportedly taken in June and July
New satellite photos show that China is constructing at least two dozens of concrete hangars in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) that are suited for Chinese aircraft.
The photos that were released on Monday were taken in June and July as reported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank that is based in Washington. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of CSIS said that China is rapidly constructing the hangars in 3 features of the Spratlys Islands located in the West Philippine Sea.
According to AMTI, each of the three islets that China is building will soon be accommodating 24 fighter-jets and 3-4 larger planes. China has stated that the islands in construction are for assisting fishermen and other causes and added that it is also to reinforce its claims of sovereignty.
Greg Poling, CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Director said: “These hangars are the smoking gun. You do not build nearly 80 hangars for civilian purposes on these tiny spits of land They're clearly meant for forward deployment of Chinese Air Force assets.”
Massachusets Institute of Technology Political Science Professor M. Taylor Fravel who studies China and East Asia said that the hangars were constructed not to directly respond to the ruling on July 12 and explained that the hangars construction probably began about 6 months ago. He added that it is part of the island’s overall development plan.
"In particular, in the future, the hangars give China the option to base or rotate military aircraft on the islands, either on a temporary basis or a permanent basis. The key question is not the construction of the hangars, which is expected given the airfields, but how China intends to use them," Fravel said.
Experts, during a Chinese-organized forum in Singapore, said that the artificial islands can be used by China for “public service” in the Asia Pacific and that it can help China and neighbors in the Southeast Asia in disaster response. – Kami Media