The following is a translation from Chinese media:
China believes that it’s reclamation of land on Johnson South Reef can monitor and control three countries – Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. China also believes that the construction of an artificial island will give it control of the sea lanes in the South China Sea.
Chigua Reef, also known as Johnson South Reef, is located roughly in the middle of the area within the nine-dash line claimed by China. Almost all the islands and reefs controlled by China, and some of the islands and reefs occupied by other countries, are at a distance less than 150km from it. This facilitates surveillance of them by future troops stationed there.
According to experts, China monitors the area now via satellites and drones to safeguard China’s sovereignty there. However, the best way of surveillance is by the troops stationed on the reef.
The location of the reef is of especially great strategic significance as it is one of the 20 islands and reefs in Jiuzhang Reefs (also known as Union Bank). The artificial island built there can contain not only the military base but also tourism, fishery and fish farming bases to support tourism, fishing and fish farming in quite a few nearby reefs. The disputes over the sovereignty will not last forever so that a large military base will only be useful for a few decades, but the facilities for tourism, fishery and fish farming will be useful forever for China to make the reefs and waters beneficial.
As the reef is located near Nanhua (or Cornwallis South) Waterway with busy shipping traffic and manoeuvres of strategic submarines, a military base there is important for protecting China’s security and trade lifelines.
Moreover, according to analysis by experts, the reef is the best for large-scale reclamation to build an artificial island. Over the past decade, there have been some articles predicting that China will be able to conduct some major moves in the South China Sea by 2014 because by that time, China’s Beidou Satellite Navigation System will cover East Asia, many destroyers, frigates and coastguard ships will be built and commissioned, the aircraft carrier will have initial combat capability, and oil and natural gas rigs and pipe-laying ships will be built and ready for use.
No wonder, Vietnam and the Philippines are responding and will respond strongly, but the oil rig move and artificial island project on the reef are but the beginning. The severe storm caused by China’s follow-up moves will soon follow.Source: qianzhan.com – Exposure of China’s approach to control the South China Sea: “Reclamation of land on Johnson South Reef can monitor and control three countries” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the article in Chinese)
- China continues advance into South China Sea; military base to be built on artificial island (chinadailymail.com)
- China to build South China Sea military base in waters claimed by Philippines and Vietnam (chinadailymail.com)
- Philippines says China appears to be building airstrip on disputed reef (chinadailymail.com)
- China takes dispute with Vietnam to UN (chinadailymail.com)
- Design of China’s Military Base to Be Built on Reef in South China Sea (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- China Taking Offensives at South China Sea in Earnest and with Vigor (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- China tells PH off on reef reclamation, says ‘it’s none of your business’ (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- China May Build ‘Artificial Island’ in South China Sea (thediplomat.com)
- Report: China Building Fake Islands Where It Shouldn’t (newser.com)
- China’s reclamation move sparks PH fears (opinion.inquirer.net)