China has installed equipment on two fortified outposts on the Spratly Islands capable of jamming communications and radar systems, which U.S. officials say signifies a stepped-up militarization of the South China Sea.
“China has deployed military jamming equipment to its Spratly Island outposts,” a Department of Defense official said.
The Chinese military is conducting a large exercise in the South China Sea, including maneuvers with China’s first aircraft carrier and air force and ground units. Some U.S. officials describe it as the largest military exercise in that region to date, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The move to install the communication and radar jamming systems will strengthen China’s ability to assert territorial claims in the South China Sea and stop U.S. military operations in that region, which includes some of the world’s largest and busiest shipping routes.
The assessment by the U.S. is supported by photo evidence by commercial satellites last month that show a suspected jammer system with its antenna extended on one of the seven Spratly outposts where China has built artificial islands.
Although China says the islands are for defensive purposes only, the activity has spurred fears that the outposts could be used to enforce territorial claims overlapping with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
China’s Defense Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Closer to home, we couldn’t think of a more perfect spot than the Chinese built port facilities at Coopers Town on Great Abaco, in the Bahamas.
We used to speak about Cuba Being 90 miles from Key West, when a more realestic figure would be from Havana to Miami of 220 miles. Folks forget the closest point, Bimini to mainland US is only 50 miles And in the case of the Coppers Town Chinese built port facilities is 180 Miles to Palm Beach.
In addition there are other Chinese projects in the Bahamas. A case in point is a large $200 million resort development in downtown Nassau called The Pointe. Dozens of Chinese construction workers pour on to the site daily but the Bahamians who should be working alongside them are virtually nowhere to be seen.
In 2016, then Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell claimed there were too many non-Bahamian workers at the site. The Department of Labour was subsequently asked to probe the ratio of Bahamian workers to foreign workers at the Bay Street development.
Foreign affairs minister of foreign affairs Hubert Chipman, also stated it appeared the majority of workers on the Bay Street property were Chinese nationals.
At the time, Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands also demanded the government and developer clarify how many Bahamian companies and laborers were employed on Phase II of The Pointe.