16 May 2018
Collin Koh, a research fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies’ Maritime Security Program, told the Inquirer that the capability deployment pattern should have been long expected.
“This is a gradual, creeping addition of increasingly high-powered capabilities to those Chinese-occupied features. It’ll appear that Beijing is ready to up the ante by beefing up its defenses [on] those artificial islands,” Koh said.
“When Beijing built such high-value installations as enormous airstrips replete with shelters and possibly bunkers, as well as sizable ports with huge ship berthing spaces, it’s a matter of time it will beef up the preexisting short-range defenses such as close-in weapons systems with [long-range] ones,” he said.
Koh said the “defensive preparations” may be part of China’s measures to assert sovereignty over the contested region, including sea patrols and aerial surveillance using fighter jets and bombers.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/05/2018