Satellite images from late January analyzed by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly show that China is reclaiming a significant amount of land at three sites in the Spratly Islands, in addition to two other sites previously documented by the defense publication.
“Where it used to have a few, small concrete platforms, it now has full islands with helipads, airstrips, harbors, and facilities to support large numbers of troops,” James Hardy, Jane’s Asia Pacific editor, told CNN. […]
The latest images show for the first time reclamation at Hughes Reef — a “large facility” is being constructed on 75,000 square meters of reclaimed land. Jane’s also said that significant progress has been made at Johnson South and Gaven Reefs.
“The buildings on Hughes Reef and Gaven Reefs have almost identical footprints: that of a main square building with what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radome at each corner.
“This suggests that China has standardized the design of key facilities and is rolling it out across its new islands.”
Either Beijing’s reclamation workers in the South China Sea didn’t get the memo about the new, less-aggressive stance on territorial claims, or China isn’t as committed to a more peaceful strategy as it says it is.