The following is a summary of translations from Chinese media:
China’s large-scale reclamation of land on five reefs to set up military, fishing, fish farming and tourism bases in the South China Sea and construction of a school on Woody Island have given rise to quite lot of speculation amongst Western military experts. They believe that China is building the Chinese version of Diego Garcia. The US military base on the island of Diego Garcia enables the US to control the Indian Ocean.
The US believed a military base on Fiery Cross Reef would play a similar but much smaller role, as the artificial island built there would not be large enough. However, supplemented by other facilities on the artificial islands built on other reefs, a military base on Fiery Cross Reef will be able to control the entire South China Sea.
It turns out that China is actually building a comprehensive base on Johnson South Reef where there is a lagoon, like that on Diego Garcia. The combined navy, air force and army capabilities there including the short- and medium-range ground-based missiles will be hard for the US to deal with.
At the same time, according to the Sansha City government’s website, China has begun construction of a school at a cost of 36 million yuan (US$6 million) on Woody Island for civilians’ and officers’ children. There are now only 40 children there for the school, but China foresees that due to its intensive development in the South China Sea, there will be enough children to fill the expensive school.
Writer Hugh White says in his new book “The China Choice: Why We Should Share Power” that over the past few years, China’s self-confidence in the South China Sea is worth US attention. China directly challenges the US position as the major naval force and maintainer of the old regional order there.
White says that America can no longer assume that China will flinch in the face of a military challenge, as China used to do in the past. China will never do so in the future. America should conduct shrewd diplomacy to avoid escalation of confrontation, clarify what are its real interests in the Asia-Pacific region and define what is essential in its Asian strategy, that it will never be deprived of.Sources: huanqiu.com “Regarding the speculation on China’s construction of navy and air base on Spratly Islands, Foreign media says China will not flinch in the face of US challenge” and “Experts: China shall ignore US, Philippines’ anger at China’s construction of a school in Sansha City” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
- China’s plans to control South China Sea; Philippines and Vietnam are just the beginning (chinadailymail.com)
- 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)
- China says it does not want war with Vietnam; that really means that they will start one (chinadailymail.com)
- Design of China’s Military Base to Be Built on Reef in South China Sea (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- Philippines Not to Respond to China’s Reclamation on 5 Disputed Reefs (tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com)
- China building school on island in South China Sea (nzherald.co.nz)
- China building school in disputed Paracel chain island (thehindu.com)
- China May Build ‘Artificial Island’ in South China Sea (thediplomat.com)
- China adding school to outpost in disputed waters (nzherald.co.nz)