Chinese military reportedly building facilities on islands near Senkakus

Kyodo, Bloomberg

China’s military is building large-scale facilities on islands near the Senkaku Islands, according to several Chinese sources.

Construction is underway in the Nanji Islands in Zhejiang province, about 300 km to the northwest of the Japanese-controlled Senkakus, which China calls the Diaoyu.

The base is expected to enhance China’s readiness to respond to potential military crises in the area as well as to strengthen surveillance over the air defense identification zone it declared over part of the East China Sea in November 2013, the sources said Sunday.

The sources said that several large radar installations have been built at high points on the main Nanji Island.

Several landing strips have been paved, likely for use by aircraft based on warships or patrol vessels, and more landing strips are set to be built on an island adjacent to Nanji Island from around next year, they said.

As the archipelago of 52 islands and islets is located about 100 km closer to the Senkakus than Okinawa’s main island, home to bases of the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, the new base is likely to shake up Japan-U.S. security strategies relating to defense of the Senkaku Islands.

Li Jie, a senior researcher from the Chinese Naval Research Institute, said the People’s Liberation Army already has a military presence — including a radar system — in the islands.

“It’s a strategically important location because of its proximity to the Diaoyu Islands; it can provide support to the East China Sea air defense zone; and it’s a major naval point on the Chinese coastal defense lines,” he said.

“It’s unarguable that China wants to enhance the existing military presence there,” he said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Monday that the government is analyzing the developments.

“China has rapidly increased its activities in surrounding waters and airspace, and we will continue to watch these movements,” he said.

Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and senior adviser at the Beijing-based research group China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said it is “absolutely normal” for the Chinese military to maintain or upgrade facilities on the Nanji Islands.

“China has military bases in several strategically important coastal islands, and the Nanji (chain) is one of them. The Japanese media is only singling out the Nanji and making a big fuss: This can be misleading.”

In April, Japan began construction of a surveillance center on the remote island of Yonaguni to monitor activity around the disputed islands.

  • timefox

    Because it’s Abe ministry, China isn’t disliked in Japan. Because China invades Japan, China is disliked in Japan.

  • Phil Blank

    Not just runways, there is a structure in those mountains and they are building islands from sand.
    Nov 24, 2014 – China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip in bitterly contested waters, says Jane’s Defence …

    Bloomberg‎ – 4 hours ago
    China’s military is building a large military base on islands about 300 kilometers (190 miles) from an islet chain at the center of a territorial row with Japan, Kyodo News reported today, citing unidentified Chinese sources.

    The base on the Nanji islands in Zhejiang Province is designed to enhance China’s readiness to respond to a potential military crisis and strengthen surveillance over an air defense identification zone it declared in the area in November last year, the news agency said. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment on the report.

  • aztec69

    Actually, they’re for new casinos that China’s building in a special economic zone in the islands to promote economic growth. I know. I read it in Bloomberg this morning.

  • Gordon558

    Sounds like a good exercise for Seals.

  • China Lee

    The United States government said Japan can “administer” the Diaoyu Islands. The United States has never said Japan had “sovereignty” over those Chinese Islands.

    It is an established historical fact that China’s Ming Dynasty was the first country in the world to discover, name, and claim the Diaoyu Islands in the year 1403. Under international law, this means China is the “true owner” of the Diaoyu Islands.

    In 1895, Japan stole the Diaoyu Islands from China at gunpoint. However, it is well-established law that a thief can never gain “true title” to stolen property. For example, if you successfully steal the British Crown Jewels, they still belong to the British Royal Family.

    In conclusion, Japan must return the stolen Diaoyu/Senkaku islands back to China as soon as possible. It can be done cordially or at the end of a fleet of Chinese stealth fighters.