China’s land reclamation efforts in the disputed South China Sea may eventually become the nation’s first island chain, allowing the nation to contain the US military facilities in Australia according to the Japan Military Review, a defense magazine based in Tokyo.
The blueprint drawn by the Ninth Design and Research Institute of the state-run China State Shipbuilding Corporation indicates that the PLA plans to build both naval and air force bases on the six islands and reefs under its control in the South China Sea. China is said to be constructing an airfield on Johnson South Reef which is about 3,200 kilometers away from the northern coast of Australia. From there, the PLA’s H-6 strategic bombers with a combat radius of 1,800 kilometers could potentially launch an attack against Australia.
China is building an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.
China is building a heliport with 10 landing pads and wind turbines on Nanji Island, which is one of 52 islands on an archipelago that is part of Zhejiang province.
Other countries in the region including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, are also within the attack range of the H-6 bombers. Singapore could potentially be an important target for the PLA because the US Navy may station more littoral combat ships there in the future. China also plans to build ports with enough capability to hold ships with a displacement of over 5,000 tons, which would mean all kinds of PLA warships could be deployed to the region.
SOURCES – WantChinaTimes, Janes,
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