South China Sea military bases vulnerable to attack, indefensible during war: Report

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Dec 07, 2020, 04:40 PM(IST)

A file photo of an island in South China Sea Photograph:( Reuters )

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China claims 90 per cent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam each claim parts of it

Beijing has gone through years turning islands and reefs in the South China Sea into army installations and airstrips however, such region could be defenseless against assault and near shaky in case of war, a Chinese military magazine has cautioned. 

The bases are "desolate in the removed ocean," and a long way from both the Chinese territory and different islands in the huge questioned waters, which length some 3.3 million square kilometers (1.3 million square miles), said Naval and Merchant Ships, a Beijing-based magazine distributed by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, which supplies the People's Liberation Army. 

Also see: South China Sea row: Why US has deployed warship USS Nimitz in Naval exercise with India

"Islands and reefs in the South China Sea have remarkable favorable circumstances in shielding public sway and keeping up a military presence in the vast ocean, yet they have normal shortcomings concerning their own military protection," it added.

China has been transforming the reefs and atolls it possesses on the contested Spratly Islands since 2015, transforming them into fake islands. It has likewise constructed airstrips and other military offices and sent hardware, for example, hostile to airplane firearms and close-in weapons frameworks, as indicated by the US think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

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These moves elevated feelings of trepidation among rival South China Sea petitioners, for example, Vietnam and the Philippines, which dread the military development could permit Beijing to assault warplanes or destroy rockets from the offices.

China claims 90 per cent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam each claim parts of it.

However, an article in the most recent release of Naval and Merchant Ships, a Beijing-based month to month magazine, featured the fake islands' shortcomings in four territories: their good ways from the territory, little size, the restricted limit of their airstrips and the various courses by which they could be assaulted. 

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In picture: Fiery Cross Reef, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea/ Center for Strategic and International Studies

The magazine, distributed by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, which assembles ships for the Chinese naval force, likewise cautioned that they presently couldn't seem to accomplish any critical hostile abilities. 

"These counterfeit islands have one of a kind preferences in shielding Chinese sway and keeping up a military presence in the profound sea, yet they have characteristic burdens in self-protection," said the article. 

The magazine said the islands were somewhere down in the South China Sea and a long way from the Chinese territory. It additionally cautioned there was no cognizant chain associating them, so it is hard to offer help in the event that one went under assault. 

"Take the case of the Fiery Cross Reef. It has a runway presently, however it's 1,000km (600 miles) away from Sanya city in Hainan area." The distance implies that China's quickest battle uphold boats would require over 20 hours to arrive at the island. 

The article likewise contended that the islands were excessively far away to convey the J-16, China's most developed multi-job strike warrior, successfully. The warriors couldn't watch the region as a result of the distance and could be effortlessly captured or assaulted by surface boats. 

It proceeded with that the vast majority of the islands just had one runway and didn't have the space to give the offices to help more than each airplane in turn. 

In case of contention, this implies that a plane dumping or refueling would need to remain on the runway consistently, keeping different planes from utilizing it. 

The airstrips are likewise near the sea, and the article said this left them presented to harm from tides and heat and humidity. 

The magazine likewise said the fake islands were too little to even consider surviving significant assaults. The vast majority of the islands are level and have restricted vegetation or rocks. 

This implies there is little cover against an assault and the best the Chinese military can do to secure gear and supplies is fabricate guarded sanctuaries out of materials like steel – which must be shipped from the terrain and can't withstand a continued rocket torrent. 

The article likewise cautioned that close by islands were held by rival inquirers, and said that if the US upheld partners, for example, the Philippines or Malaysia in any contention, the were numerous methodologies from which it could assault –, for example, the Philippine island of Palawan, toward the east of the Spratlys, or the Strait of Malacca toward the west.

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