HomeExpansionismChina Bullies Its Way into a New Military Base on Disputed Island

China Bullies Its Way into a New Military Base on Disputed Island

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Historically, China has maintained a presence on the Paracel Islands, which includes Triton, since the 1970s. This island cluster is also claimed by both Taiwan and Vietnam. Now it appears that China has military aspirations for Triton and it proceeding despite the other claims of ownership.

Apparently – as usual – might makes right.

From the evidence, it seems the Chinese are developing an airstrip that’s over 2,000 feet long. This size could potentially accommodate drones and turboprop aircraft. Such a development strongly indicates that China’s aim is to strengthen its military foothold on the island. Just last year, China had already militarized three islands in the South China Sea, a move that the Pentagon saw as an attempt by China to increase its offensive capabilities and extend its reach beyond its shores.

Raymond Powell, an expert at Stanford University who focuses on China’s maritime strategies, remarked on the recent satellite images, “Regardless of which it turns out to be, it’s a clear indication that China intends to make significant upgrades to its military outpost at Triton Island.” This suggests that China’s ambitions in the South China Sea are far from over.

This potential military outpost on Triton Island isn’t just about land. It’s also about control and influence. By building on Triton, China gains a strategic advantage over the entire Paracel group of islands. Hu Bo, who heads the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative in Beijing, further emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the exact nature of the construction. He said, “The imagery is quite clear, but since the construction is not completed yet, we can’t be sure they are airstrips.”

However, China’s increasing military presence in disputed regions of the South China Sea isn’t going unnoticed. Countries like Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines have expressed concerns, given that China’s territorial ambitions overlap with their own.

Furthermore, the U.S. has been vocal in its criticism of China’s aggressive behavior. Recent military encounters between the two superpowers in the South China Sea have only added to the tension. China’s construction activities on Triton could potentially strain its relationships even further, particularly with Vietnam. Experts believe this could push Vietnam closer to the U.S.

China’s narrative is straightforward. They claim that their construction activities are legitimate, emphasizing that Triton Island is an “inherent part” of Chinese territory. “Inherent” in this case means that China will forge ahead until somebody bigger comes along – and there is nobody bigger.

However, with satellite images revealing extensive construction and the potential for military infrastructure, the world watches closely, waiting to see how this intricate geopolitical puzzle unfolds.

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