China: Zhao Lijian ‘condemns’ lifting of US-Taiwan restrictions
The sudden expansion of the naval base is being watched closely by the US. China’s navy has expanded Yulin Naval Base on the island province of Hainan. The naval base is currently a conventional submarine facility.
But security analysts have proposed that the latest expansion is to allow for nuclear submarine bays.
Military news database GlobalSecurity.org said that intelligence had found four new trestles for submarines, each 229 meters long, that can accommodate 16 submarines.
Intelligence sources also stated the base will be made secure for China’s aircraft carriers.
Remote-sensing equipment are also expected to be based at the Yulin site.
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Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Taiwan’s Tamkang University said: “It’s going to be kind of a future-oriented construction. It takes time.
“It looks like they have all the hardware, all the construction ready, and it’s still going on.”
The naval base extension will allow Beijing to increase its power in the South China Sea region.
In the area, China’s coast guard and navy already move through waters claimed by the other countries.
The Hainan base is very close to Vietnam’s territorial waters.
The expanded naval base is linked to Chinese-held fortified islets in the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos.
The Chinese navy has been conducting exercises and monitor movements by other countries in the disputed maritime region.
Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington Gregory Poling said: “That’s the hub, that’s the base of the south sea fleet, that’s what ultimately controls all the deployments in the Paracels and the Spratlys.
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“It is where most of the assets that you eventually see out there on the islands start out.”
The shallow seas are rough around the islets because of rough seas and distance from the Chinese mainland.
China has claimed approximately 90 percent of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea.
Beijing has technological and military superiority over the region’s other claimants.
The region’s other territorial claimants are Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
These nations have challenged China’s claims.
Their challenge to China has been backed by the US.
Beijing claims the rich resources in the region, such as oil and gas.
They have also attempted to lay ownership over much of the region’s fishing territory.
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