China's Take-And-Talk Strategy In The South China Sea

Subi Reef

Beijing has nearly completed the construction of military and dual-use facilities on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the US-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) think tank said.

This aerial photo taken on January 2, 2017 shows a Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea.

China had also constructed shelters with retractable roofs for mobile launchers at the three reefs on Spratly Islands and aircraft hangars at Fiery Cross to accommodate 24 war planes and three large planes.

"This is a new proposal, a bilateral consultation mechanism specifically on the South China Sea", spokesman Charles Jose told reporters.

He told Kim he was surprised by what he called USA inaction when newspapers began publishing photos of China's construction of runways and other structures on the newly built islands.

The three most developed locations, according to the CSIS report, are Subi, Mischief, and Fiery Cross Reefs in the Spratly Islands. While China's talk on the South China Sea is full of deception, its take is very real.

While China calls United State's blockade in the South China Sea an "act of war", the US calls it an "act of peace".

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"These strategic outposts will permit Beijing to enhance its power projection capabilities and establish anti-access zones right across the South China Sea", the report said.

China already uses an existing airfield on Woody Island in the similarly disputed Paracel chain, located to the north, where it has maintained mobile HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles for more than a year and deployed anti-ship cruise missiles on at least one occasion.

The long-running South China Sea dispute circles around claims from several sovereign states over the waters and its islands, through which an estimated $5trillion passes through. Not only is China stingy in terms of global humanitarian assistance, but it is actually claiming and occupying the critical natural resources, such as oil, gas, and fishing areas, of its poorer neighbors in the South China Sea - resources that worldwide law says do not belong to China.

Jose said the bilateral consultation mechanism is significant because it will provide a venue for both China and the Philippines to discuss the dispute in a peaceful manner.

China has since gone on to build airfields at the Spratly Islands, as well as a harbor, cement plants, loading piers, communication facilities, defense structures, lighthouses, and went on with dredging activities in areas such as Mischief Reef.

Abella said that Zhao also conveyed China's willingness for the implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the coast guards of the two countries on the establishment of a Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation. Obviously, China wasn't interested to be lectured by the U.S.

The U.S. estimates China has added 3,200 acres of land on seven features (which includes rocky outcrops and reefs) over the past three years, although China denies it is militarizing the islands it has built.

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