December 15, 2017
According to a new report, China is planning to launch a series of new satellites that will eventually give it continuous coverage of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The South China Morning Post reports President Xi Jinping’s government will launch 10 new satellites over the next three years. Once in orbit, they will provide 24-7 coverage of all the disputed territory, and will even be able to “analyse every object in the waters in detail, including the structure of vessels.”
Recent analysis of commercial satellite imagery shows continued construction on at least seven of the disputed islands.
The Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported this week that China added 72 acres of land to seven artificial islands it has built in the area. It said the build-up suggested Beijing is developing larger outposts into fully functional air and naval bases.
The think tank’s director, Greg Poling, said:
[The construction has] got off the front pages, but we shouldn’t confuse that with a softening in China’s pursuit of its goals. They are continuing all the construction they want.
Various parts of the area are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.