China’s Island Bases Would Be the First Casualty of a U.S.-China War.
Published at : 29 Dec 2021
Would China’s Island Bases Be the First Casualty of a U.S.-China War.
The ports and airfields under construction will almost certainly grow to defend the region, with help from the mainland, from a complex antisubmarine warfare campaign designed to go after China’s seagoing nuclear weapons.
Here's What You Need To Remember: In any military confrontation with the United States, China’s at-sea outposts would almost certainly be quickly rolled back by waves of airstrikes and cruise missile attacks, devastating People’s Liberation Army facilities and stranding the personnel manning them.
In recent years the People’s Republic of China has laid claim to ninety percent of the South China Sea, buttressing this claim by creating artificial islands with dredging equipment. These claims run roughshod over Beijing’s neighbors, which have competing claims. The discovery in 2016 that China had militarized these artificial islands was not exactly surprising, but just how useful are these islands in defense of China’s strategic goals?
China’s campaign to militarize the South China Sea began in 2009, when it submitted a new map to the United Nations showing the now-infamous “Nine-Dash Line”—a series of boundary dashes over the South China Sea that it claimed demarcated Chinese territory. Since then, China has expanded at least seven reefs and islets in the sea with sand dredged from the ocean floor, including Subi Reef, Mischief Reef, Johnson Reef, Hughes Reef, Gaven Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Cuarteron Reef.
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, Beijing has created more 3,200 acres of new land. China initially claimed its “territory” was being developed for peaceful purposes, from aid to mariners to scientific research, yet many of the islands now feature military-length airfields, antiaircraft and antimissile guns, and naval guns. Cuarteron Reef now has a new High Frequency early-warning radar facility for detecting incoming aircraft, a development difficult to square with a peaceful mission. Farther north, but still in disputed territory, China has installed HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island.
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