China installs new structure on remote South China Sea reef â think tank
Satellite imagery from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative shows China's new platform on Bombay Reef, a largely untouched feature in the Paracel Islands, whish are also being claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
DigitalGlobe via AMTI/CSIS

China installs new structure on remote South China Sea reef — think tank

(Philstar.com) - November 21, 2018 - 8:51am

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing appears to have built a new structure on one of the features in the South China Sea, which are also being claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, according to a report from a Washington-based think tank.

Satellite imagery acquired by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative showed that China has developed Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands, a largely untouched feature in the area.

The new platform, which measures approximately 90 feet long and 40 feet wide first appeared at the reef at satellite imagery dated July 7. It was not located in earlier photos from April, according to the think tank.

"The structure is topped by a radome measuring roughly 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter and an array of solar panels covering more than 1300 square feet (124 meters). The superstructure hides any other facilities or equipment that the platform may contain," AMTI said.

Until the installment of the new platform, the only artificial structure on Bombay Reef was a decades-old lighthouse on its western part.

Bombay Reef is located at the southeastern edge of the Paracel Islands and is directly adjacent to shipping lanes running between the Paracels and the Spratly Islands, where Beijing had installed military facilities.

The AMTI raised the possibility that the radome may be used for military purposes, aside from being used to serve as a navigational aid for ships passing through near the islands.

"The radome is relatively small, especially compared to large sensor arrays built on nearby Woody Island or on China’s major bases in the Spratly Islands, so its capabilities are also likely modest," the think tank said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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