IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly said March 23 images from Airbus Defence and Space showed work on the runway on reclaimed parts of Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly archipelago, which China contests with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
It said images from earlier in March showed reclamation work on Subu Reef in the Spratlys creating landmasses that, if joined together, could create space for another 3,000-meter airstrip.
The report said other images suggested China was working to extend another airstrip to that length in the Paracel Islands further north in the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, a vital shipping route through which $5 trillion of trade passes every year.
In the event of hostilities, this will be viable for… oh …. 15 minutes.