New satellite imagery points to China’s construction, on artificial islands of the South China Sea, of “full-blown military bases.”
The development by geospatial software company Simularity claims of radar antennas mounted on Mischief Rey may be part of a military installation.
Since 1995, China has been occupying and occupying the ring-shape reef, 250 kilometers from the Philippines.
Between May 2020 and February 2021, the satellite images display construction work in seven regions.
On one picture from 7 May 2020 is an open terrain, now filled by a cylindrical structure of sixteen meters in width.
It could be a ‘possible mounting structure’ according to Simularity.
Another photo shows a concrete frame with an enclosure that is weatherproof to shield a nearby radar antenna.
This could be “possibly be a fixed radar structure” according to Simularity.
Other Mischief Reef sites occur or have been cleared for construction in the center of the project.
China has taken up much of the South China Sea, and since 2014 small reefs and sandbuilders have been formed into man-made artificial islands, heavily defended by missiles, runway systems and weapons systems.
In the disputed waterway, at least six other governments have also conflicting territorial claims: the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Taiwan.
Billions of dollars in exchanged exports traverse the South China Sea annually.
Mischief Reef has been at the center of China-Philippines tensions.
The Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague ruled in 2016 that it falls within the Philippines’ exclusive economic region.
China-Philippines relations continue to be strained.
Last month, China passed a law that entitled its navy and coast guard to take all required steps in the disputed waters to protect its sovereignty.