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China puts missile bases on disputed South China Sea islands, analysts say — Radio Free Asia read full article at

A newly emerged satellite tv for pc picture reveals a Chinese language air protection facility on the Paracel Islands, which analysts say signifies the Individuals’s Liberation Military now has surface-to-air missiles on the prepared completely in each the contested archipelagos within the South China Sea.

The Paracel Islands, or Xisha Islands in Chinese language, are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan however occupied solely by Beijing since 1974 after the Chinese language Navy defeated the then South Vietnamese Navy in a quick however bloody sea battle.

China additionally occupies a number of the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands in Chinese language) which are claimed by another neighboring international locations similar to Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

A satellite image of what seems to be a newly-built however accomplished missile battalion on Woody Island inside the Paracel group has surfaced this week on Twitter. 

The picture – credited to Maxar Applied sciences, an area expertise agency, and allegedly taken final April – reveals 4 buildings with retractable roofs at a website on Woody (Yongxing in Chinese language), the most important of the Paracel Islands within the South China Sea.

One of many buildings has its roof partially open, displaying what seems to be surface-to-air missiles (SAM) launchers inside.

ImageSat Worldwide, an area intelligence firm, first detected the looks, removing and reappearance of HQ-9 SAM launchers on Woody Island in 2016.

However the brand new satellite tv for pc picture, which RFA couldn’t confirm independently, reveals that the PLA has accomplished constructing an air protection base resembling these on the three synthetic islands that it has absolutely militarized.

Related buildings with retractable roofs had been detected on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs, a part of the Spratly Islands within the South China Sea, Tom Shugart, adjunct Senior Fellow on the Middle for a New American Safety, wrote on Twitter.

They’re everlasting amenities that may home long-range missile batteries that will develop China’s attain in disputed areas.

Militarized synthetic islands

A Getty Pictures photographer in October obtained entry to flights close to various reefs and rocks that China has reclaimed and became navy bases.

His photographs present intensive particulars of Individuals’s Liberation Military (PLA) buildings within the Spratly archipelago.

However to date, the extent of militarization within the Paracels has not been absolutely documented as overseas journalists aren’t permitted to entry the archipelago that China occupies in its entirety.

Woody Island.jpg
A Dec. 14, 2020 satellite tv for pc picture of Woody Island, the place China carried out development work. Credit score: Planet Labs Inc.

Some analysts mentioned the alleged missile base on Woody Island is according to their analysis.

“The PLA has maintained air defense capabilities on Woody Island for many years,” mentioned Zoe Haver, an analyst at cybersecurity agency Recorded Future.

“Some of these capabilities likely fall under a Woody Island-based battalion of Unit 92155, which is very likely an air defense brigade within the naval aviation branch of the PLA Navy,” Haver instructed RFA.

The analyst, who had executed intensive research on China’s growth on the Paracels, mentioned Unit 92155 “very likely performs air defense duties on Woody Island.”

The Chinese language HQ-9 SAM system has an operational vary of 200 kilometers (124 miles) at excessive altitude and may pose a severe menace to navy and civilian air visitors.

Woody Island is the most important pure land function that China occupies within the South China Sea. 

The island serves because the headquarters for Sansha Metropolis which China established in 2012 to manage all of the islands it claims within the South China Sea and their surrounding waters – although these are areas contested by a number of different governments within the area.

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