The New York Times has published an article and new photos that appear to cast considerable doubt on China’s pledge to not militarize the South China Seas. The New York Times quotes Chinese Paramount Leader Xi Jimnping as saying, to President Obama: “China does not intend to pursue militarization,” Mr. Xi said, referring to the area as the Nansha Islands, a Chinese name for what most of the rest of the world calls the Spratlys in the South China Sea.
But now, the article says, “The most recent satellite photographs suggest a different plan. The photos, collected and scrutinized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based research organization, show the construction of what appear to be reinforced aircraft hangars at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs, all part of the disputed territories … [and, while] … There were no military aircraft seen at the time the photos were taken. But a summary of the center’s analysis suggests that the hangars on all three islets have room for “any fighter-jet in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force” … [and] … A larger type of hangar on the islets can accommodate China’s H-6 bomber and H-6U refueling tanker, a Y-8 transport aircraft and a KJ200 Airborne Warning and Control System plane, the center said in its analysis.“
Here are the three photos:
Subi Reef: 24 July 2016
Mischief Reef: 22 July 2016
Fiery Cross Reef: 2 June 2016
Hangars large enough to hold: fighter jets are enclosed by red rectangles; those large enough for bombers, tankers or transport planes are enclosed by yellow rectangles.
By The New York Times | Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies/Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe