China is building a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea, according to a story by Reuters news service. Satellite photographs show a rectangular area 3,280 yards (3,000m) long on Mischief Reef, one of several artificial islands China has created in the Spratly archipelago.
China has built something similar on two other reefs, Subi and Fiery Cross, said Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, according to Reuters.
“We have seen some more work on what is clearly going to be some port facilities for ships,” he told the news service.
Security experts told Reuters that the strip is long enough to accommodate Chinese military aircraft, putting them into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia, where it has competing claims with several countries.