The Spratly Islands are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea. The Peoples Liberation Army of the Communist Party of China has been building artificial islands from the reefs in the disputed sea lanes.
According to a July 13, 2021 report in The Washington Times: "China's military recently deployed electronic warning and surveillance aircraft and helicopters on two disputed islands in the South China Sea in what analysts say is a sign that the People's Liberation Army has begun routine air operations from the bases. Satellite images obtained by The Washington Times show deployments in May and June of PLA KJ-500 airborne warning and control aircraft to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. Other satellite photos showed the stationing of a Y-9 transport aircraft and Z-8 helicopter to Subi Reef in June and this month. Last year, KQ-200 anti-submarine warfare aircraft were deployed on a third island base on Fiery Cross Reef.
In 2018, the PRC installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. The land-based YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles can strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles. The long-range HQ-9B surface-to-air missiles have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. The PLA has also installed communications jamming and radar equipment.
Fiery Cross Reef
Fiery Cross Reef is claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, which monitors territorial conflicts, says Fiery Cross has been transformed into a PRC missile base.
On April 18, 2020 the Peoples Republic of China unilaterally announced the establishment of the Nansha and Xisha administrative districts in the Paracels and the Spratly Islands, drawing a protest from the Philippines, which has a presence of its own on at least nine Spratly islands and islets.
In early 2012 vessels from the PRC mainland swarmed Scarborough Shoal which lies within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ) after the Philippines detained Chinese poachers. The shoal, just rocks above the high-tide waterline, is strategic because it guards the approaches to Manila and Subic Bays. It is only 124 nautical miles from the main Philippine island of Luzon and about 550 nautical miles from Hainan Island of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Only the Philippines complied with a supposed agreement reported by the MSM brokered by the Obama administration for the PRC to withdraw their ships from Scarborough Shoal. In a White House press conference with barack Obama, Xi Jinping made a commitment not to “militarize” artificial islands that Beijing was building. The PRC, however, has been in firm control of Scarborough Shoal ever since. The Obama administration, despite the brazen Chinese seizure, decided not to enforce the agreement it arranged.
Whitsun Shoal, also known as Julian Felipe Reef, is 175 nautical miles from Palawan, an island of the Philippines. The feature is within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
Since December 2020, large Chinese trawlers have lashed themselves together and parked in formations near Whitsun. Vessels come and go, but the numbers have gone up over time. They have not been engaged in fishing. Beijing began to turn features near Whitsun into military outposts.
Second Thomas Shoal
In mid-February 2020, a CCP naval ship locked its radar on a Philippines naval vessel near the Commodore Reef, signaling a strike as an act of intimidation.
Johnson South Reef
- . https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/02/china-added-missile-systems-on-spratly-islands-in-south-china-sea.html