Imagery shows heliport on China's Nanji Islands

BLACKEAGLE

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James Hardy, London and Sean O'Connor, Indiana - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
22 January 2015


Airbus Defence and Space imagery shows a military heliport under construction in the Nanji Islands. Concrete helipads are in place along with associated taxiways. An access road is present to replace a road overtaken by the facility's construction. No supporting infrastructure is present, but trenching suggests future pipe- or cable-laying activity. (CNES 2014, Distribution Airbus DS / IHS)
Satellite imagery analysis by IHS Jane's has confirmed that China is building a military base on islands 300 km away from the dispute Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

The imagery, captured on 13 October 2014 by Airbus Defence and Space's Pleaides satellite, shows a heliport with 10 landing pads in the centre of Nanji Island, one of a group of islands that are part of Zhejiang province.

The construction at Nanji was reported on 22 December 2014 by Japan's Kyodo News, citing unidentified Chinese sources.

A comparison with DigitalGlobe imagery captured in October 2013 shows that the helipads are new additions to the island, along with wind turbines that sit along a ridge on the island's southeast peninsula. In contrast to the media reports, there are no signs of an airstrip under construction, although existing radar and communications sites are clear from the imagery.

On 25 December the Chinese Ministry of National Defense reacted by describing the story as "pure media hype."

"Some media in Japan make irresponsible speculations about China's legitimate activities and construction and play up tensions in the region. It is pure media hype," MND spokesperson Yang Yujun told a regular press conference.

Bases on the Nanji islands would be among the closest Chinese facilities to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands but are still twice the distance of the nearest inhabited Japanese island of Ishigakijima, which is about 150 km south of the disputed islands.

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The Chinese response, via official statements and editorials in state-sanctioned newspapers, has been characteristically defensive, arguing that Beijing can do what it wants to Nanji as it is a domestic issue.

While this may be true, it does nothing to address the issue of the quiet military buildup around the Senkaku/Daioyu islands by both sides. For its part, Japan is putting aside funds to buy land for a coastal surveillance radar unit on Yonaguni island, which is the westernmost of its islands and only 150 km from the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, while it is also training up and kitting out a small marine corps-style force that will be based in Nagasaki.

The obvious gap in the Nanji island plan is an airfield. The closest is at Luqiao, about 130 km from Nanji and 380 km from the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. The base at Luqiao is home to the PLA Navy Air Force's East Sea Fleet 4th Division, 12th Regiment, which operates Chengdu J-10A fighter aircraft.

Imagery shows heliport on China's Nanji Islands - IHS Jane's 360
 
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That is pretty impressive, they are working really hard on it. I would not want to be on that island during a typhoon, the waves probably go right over it. Is the harbour good enough to protect a ship during a typhoon ?
 
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It is funny to read the propaganda about "300km from disputed islands". Actually most of the news reported it as "Near Japan" instead. Stupid propaganda.

The Nanji island is literally 10km off Chinese mainland coast.
The disputed Diaoyu/Senkuka islands are 330km off Chinese mainland coast, 170km off Taiwan coast, and 410km from the nearest habitable rock of "Okinawa" which was Kingdom of Ryukyu before Japan conquered and renamed them to "Okinawa" in 1879. Japan itself is at least another 1,000km up north on the opposite side of Okinawa.


@ orangesunset
What you see around the base is not ocean but forests. There are actually locals living on the island.
The island is bigger than you think.
 
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It looks like Japan wants control of the island and maybe jealous, that China is making a claim and also building a base on it and it looks real impressive to look at from the top image view. From what China says, it looks like they are allowed to build on it and doing it the legal way as well and I wander if the work conditons are safe to work in. The country is known to have unsafe work laws and also, not about human life protection and hope it is improved as well.
 
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