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Palawan within range of China's jets, missiles in South China Sea

The image shows the Chinese miltiary structures installed on Feiry Cross Reef or Kagitingan Reef. AMTI

MANILA, Philippines — Palawan province in the Philippines could be within range of China's fighter jets and cruise missiles if deployed on their reclaimed outposts in the Spratly Islands, according to a US think tank.

Washington-based AMTI Center for Strategic and International Studies made projections on the range of China's jets and missiles based on their equipment deployed on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands, which is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The think tank noted that since 2014, Beijing has expanded its ability to monitor and project power throughout the contested waters through the construction of military assets on the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

"For the bases at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs, fighter and missile ranges represent expected future deployments based on the hangars and shelters built to accommodate those assets," the think tank said.

Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan), Mischief Reef (Panganiban) and Subi Reef (Zamora) are also being claimed by Manila.

"These include new radar and communications arrays, airstrips and hangars to accommodate combat aircraft, shelters likely meant to house missile platforms, and deployments of mobile surface-to-air and anti-ship cruise missile systems at Woody Island in the Paracels," the think tank said.

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The US think tank's map shows that the expected range of YJ-62 Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles can reach Palawan province and the northern part of Malaysia.

On the other hand, the expected radii of China's J-10 fighter aircraft have a broader range than even reaches the Sulu Sea and a larger portion of Sabah, Malaysia.





The AMTI map depicted Beijing's ranges of known high-frequency radar installations as 300 kilometers while the smaller arrays were shown as 50 kilometers.

Last June, the AMTI released satellite imagery showing that China is nearly complete in the construction of military facilities in the disputed waters despite the warming up of Manila's relations with Beijing.

In July 2016, the Hague-based arbitral tribunal ruled that the three maritime features were originally high-tide features that do not legally generate their own continental shelf or exclusive economic zone.

Beijing, however, refused to honor the arbitral decision and insisted that they have indisputable sovereignty over the region based on their nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

RELATED: Analyst: China diverting int'l pressure while completing facilities in disputed sea

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