Watch: China Reclamation in Spratly Islands to be Completed Soon, Warship and Runway Spotted (Video)
China’s reclamation activities in the disputed territories at South China Sea, particularly in the Spratly Islands will be completed soon. According to the latest update from Philippine Maritime patrol, there is now an airstrip at Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross), and a warship at Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef).
Based on the photos released via ABS-CBN News this Tuesday, June 16, 2015, the cemented runway at Kagitingan Reef is estimated to be 2.67 kilometers long. It is accompanied by taxiway of 2.7 kilometers long, where airplanes can maneuver. This China’s reclamation project was believed to have started in mid 2014.
According to Department of National Defense Spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez, the said runway at Kagitingan Reef is not an ordinary airstrip, adding that a huge military aircraft by China can already land there. The photo was taken on May 7, 2015, and there could be a lot of progress at this point in time.
On May 9, roads surrounding the Mabini Reef have been cemented, and an anchored warship was spotted just near the island. There are also some trucks which are believed to be Armored Personal Carrier (APC). It should be noted that this island is still within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEC) of the Philippines.
On May 28, around 300-meter long sand has been added at Kennan Reef as part of China’s reclamation project in the disputed territories. This is believed to be a future location for a lighthouse. On May 31, Mischief Reef was found to have 32 dredging vessels, 32 cargo vessels, and 3 ocean tugs.
Apparently, China has been very vocal in its controversial reclamation efforts in the Spratly Islands. This is despite the strong objections by the Philippines and the United States. The military presence of China in the disputed territories led to US’ consideration to send military aircraft and warships near the contested areas.
“The land reclamation project of China’s construction on some stationed islands and reefs of Nansha Islands will be completed in the upcoming days.” The China Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. However, he did not mentioned as which among the reefs will be completed first and its exact date of completion.
“It is fair, reasonable, and lawful. It does not affect, and is not targeted against, any country and will not affect countries’ freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.” The statement added, as China continues to virtually claim the entire South China Sea.