New satellite photos are hinting that the Chinese government is preparing for war against the island nation of Taiwan, which has long been disputed as Chinese territory.
According to an open-source intelligence analyst writing for The Drive’s Warzone, these images show enhancements being made at China’s Zhangzhou, Huian and Longitan airbases, all of which are within 250 miles of Taiwan.
The report Wednesday said munitions storage is being built at the Longitan and Huian bases, along with minor runway expansions and new aprons.
It said the aprons in particular suggest that they will be dealing with more aircraft flying in and out of the bases, as they are along the Taiwan Strait coastline.
#China‘s upgrading airbases located opposite #Taiwan, boosting airpower capability in a tense region, this, coupled with flights through #Taiwan‘s ADIZ, all appear to be in line with #Beijing‘s evolving aggressive posture towards the island nationhttps://t.co/nKVP1v9JtQ
— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) October 14, 2021
When it comes to the Zhangzhou airbase, China appears to be constructing a third surface-to-air missile defense location, the report said.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have continued to escalate in recent months.
#China has expanded & upgraded 3 military airbases just across from #Taiwan, adding to concerns that #Beijing is preparing to go to war.
It has built aircraft hangars, potential munitions bunkers, extended runways that would enhance Chinese air force if it were to attack Taiwan.
— Olivier Guitta (@OlivierGuitta) October 17, 2021
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Taiwan’s “reunification” with the mainland was inevitable.
“Reunification of the nation must be realized, and will definitely be realized,” he said Oct. 9, according to The Associated Press.
“Reunification through a peaceful manner is the most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has said a move by China to take Taiwan by force would be disastrous.
“If Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for the regional peace and the democratic alliance system,” she wrote in an Op-Ed published earlier this month in Foreign Affairs magazine. “It would signal that in today’s global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy.”
As the United States and China are arguably the two most powerful countries in the world, the U.S. will be left with tough choices if a conflict involves the democracy of Taiwan.
Last week, the U.S. and Canada both sent warships to the strait, a move that was condemned by the Chinese military.
“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble … seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” the Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army said, according to The Guardian. “Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”
The reported developments at the airbases should be raising alarm bells for both Taiwan and the West.
Hopefully, this will remain a cold war between China and the island nation rather than escalating into an armed conflict resulting in death and destruction.
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