Skip to main content

On December 30, Chinese state television broadcast aerial footage of the country’s facilities on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. The video was the first ever to show close-up images of the entirety of the substantial naval and air base on the disputed reef in the Spratly Islands. Earlier that month, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative had released satellite imagery documenting the construction of aircraft hangars, missile shelters, signals intelligence facilities, and other military infrastructure on Fiery Cross, as well as Mischief and Subi Reefs, throughout 2017. But the aerial footage highlighted the scale of China’s military buildup in a visceral way that satellite imagery could not. It should have served as a wake-up call in both Manila and Washington that Beijing has not changed its long-term strategy of employing coercion and, if need be, military force to establish dominance over the

To read the full article