In "Dramatic Escalation," China Sends Fighter Jets To Disputed Islands

Tyler Durden's picture

On Tuesday, multiple media outlets jumped at the opportunity to report that China has built radar facilities at Cuarteron Reef, Beijing’s southern-most South Pacific sandcastle.

New radar facilities being developed in the Spratlys, on the other hand, could significantly change the operational landscape,”  Gregory Poling of CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said, explaining why the radar installations are actually a bigger deal than the deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island.

Here’s a bit more from Poling:

Construction of facilities at Cuarteron seems nearly complete and the artificial island now covers about 52 acres (211,500 square meters). Two probable radar towers have been built on the northern portion of the feature, and a number of 65-foot (20-meter) poles have been erected across a large section of the southern portion. These poles appear to be a high-frequency radar installation, as was first speculated on The Diplomat, which would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic across the southern portion of the South China Sea. In addition to these radar facilities, China has constructed a buried bunker and lighthouse on the northern portion of the feature, a number of buildings and a helipad in its center, communications equipment to the south, and a quay with a loading crane on the western end of the outpost.


Poling goes on to say that Beijing has likely also put radar installations on other islands in the Spratlys, but that, as it turns out, isn't the big story.

Just moments ago, GOP mouthpiece Fox News said China has now deployed fighter jets to Woody Island, where imagery from ImageSat International (ISI) showed two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers in place earlier this month. 

"Chinese Shenyang J-11s (“Flanker”) and  Xian JH-7s (“Flounder”) have been seen by U.S. intelligence on Woody Island in the past few days, the same island where Fox News reported exclusively last week that China had sent two batteries of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles while President Obama was hosting 10 Southeast Asian leaders in Palm Springs," Fox reports, gleefully. "The dramatic escalation cames minutes before Secretary of State John Kerry was to host his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at the State Department."

"There is no difference between China’s deployment of necessary national defense facilities on its own territory and the defense installation by the U.S. in Hawaii,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday, in an effort to play down the buildup on Woody.

China raised eyebrows earlier this year when Beijing landed civilian aircraft on a 10,000 foot airstrip constructed atop Fiery Cross Reef.

We'd love to be a fly on the wall for Kerry's imminent meeting with Wang, who we're sure will tell America's top diplomat what he told the Western media last week: Don't mind the missiles and the warplanes, focus on the lighthouses.

*  *  *

For those who missed it, here are the images from Woody which depict the SAM deployment:

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ACP's picture

A lighthouse? Jeez, even the Chinese don't trust their own on-board nav system electronics.

ShrNfr's picture

Actually, it only looks like a lighthouse, it is really a massive ICBM to deliver scads of MIRVs all over the US. But don't worry, Kerry and Obama are on top of it.

waterwitch's picture

Not to worry chaps. Sea level rise will take them out.

Lore's picture

When the tide is low at sunrise, it's called 'Morning Woody' Island. 

BuddyEffed's picture

Well done China !
Keep Isis and Al Q away with overwhelming force.

o r c k's picture

Don't know if I wood or not. Wood you?

Winston Churchill's picture

I wish they were. Strapped to the warhead.

That aside, when is the USN planning on adding a reef ?

CapnJackDaniel's picture

That seems like a lot of SAMs, quickly. Is that a 'becasue we can' approach? Don't know Chinese military headspace well enough yet. You'd think they'd have built something bespoke if this wasn't short term, 'feel we need to do it hard and now' stuff. Thoughts folks?

Consuelo's picture



Both Russia & China smell weakness.  

Not that the U.S. has any business in their respective backyards anyway, but you get the drift.    Now there are those who will claim the 'aggressive' nature of the Communist mindset, and thus the need to ringfence it.   However...   The facts surrounding military bases, installations, outposts, black ops, Color revolutions, regime changes, various & sundry 'overthrows', etc., over a period of 50 years or more, suggest a slightly different story...

iggenFlot's picture
iggenFlot (not verified) Consuelo Feb 23, 2016 6:36 PM

The US has as much business in international waters and airspace as any other country. International law must prevail.

maxwellsdemon's picture

China building airbases on atolls isn't any of our business.  If it's neighbors don't like it, they can build their own bases or tell China they'll limit trade.   It's not the business of the US and I'm tired of this BS with having over 1000 bases all over the world, when it's costing us trillions of  fiat from private bankers. 


If you wanrt to enforce 'international law' over this BS issue, go carry a sign outside the Chinese embassy.


The US government has lost it's authority with us after they killed 3k Americxans on 911 with the help of the Mossad, in order to rearrange the ME.  Time for a revolution at home.  We need to get our crap cleaned up here.

iggenFlot's picture
iggenFlot (not verified) maxwellsdemon Feb 23, 2016 7:00 PM

I can't reason with a crackpot who believes Israel is behind 9/11.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) iggenFlot Feb 23, 2016 7:21 PM


I can't reason"

Most truthful thing ever you told.

sushi's picture

I can't reason with a crackpot who believes Israel is behind 9/11.


What about all the crackpots behind these 205 dead and injured. Same folks.


Maybe you just cannot reason. Period.

o r c k's picture

Obombyou doesn't like it atoll.

TeraByte's picture

International law also gives US a right to topple every regime of disliking.

Antifaschistische's picture

they also know...that in spite of  how much they borrow, or how weak their currencies become, the collapse of the Dollar is going to provide a much larger firework show than anything they could possibly experience.  So, forcing the military/white house/banking complex to race toward 30 trillion in US debt is all they really need.

iggenFlot's picture
iggenFlot (not verified) ACP Feb 23, 2016 6:32 PM

The US and other nations need to continue the freedom of navigation patrols, as undoubtedly we will. If China subsequently acts rashly, it will be punished. Surprisingly, even Obama seems to recognize the imperative of these patrols.

maxwellsdemon's picture

Go ahead and 'punish' china yourself, whatever that means.  Don't involve Americans. We need to arrest our governemnet perps who collaborated with the Mossad to kill 3K Americans on 911 in order to justify rearranging the ME.  THe US governemnt has to be cleaned up'; that's our first priority not some stupid Chinese real estate improvement in the middle of the ocean.  If China's neighbors don't like it, they can limit trade with CHina.

iggenFlot's picture
iggenFlot (not verified) maxwellsdemon Feb 23, 2016 7:01 PM

Crackpot, please seek help.

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) iggenFlot Feb 23, 2016 7:23 PM

It you yourself in front of a mirror say.

August's picture

I despise the US Government as much as the next guy, but technically the non-Chinese actors here are correct:  China is attempting to resolve a territorial dispute through adverse possession, force majeure etc. etc.  FWIW there is nothing "illegal" in their doing so.

"Freedom of navigation" activities by the USA are not unreasonable, but there is little credible threat behind them (i.e. the US is in no position to attack Chinese assets in the islands, and will not do so).  China will ultimately get either 1) all of what it wants, or 2) most of what it wants. 

The key is to what extent the regional players are willing to ACTIVELY support US actions;  Australia has (very quietly) been asked to perform "freedom of navigation" cruises into the South China Sea.  IMHO if the Aussies decline to do this, the game is over;  if the Aussies actively join an anti-China coalition, the game goes on for a while yet.

abyssinian's picture

Bullish for oil, now that the Chinese will use few more jet fuel for their jets! Right? Oil going to $35 tomorrow? 

cowdiddly's picture

I guess you thought they built those airstrips for overflow car parking?

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Do you think my massage jizz would over power her commy idealogy and oh wait.  Being commy means she'll do whatever I tell her to do.

That could be good.  Nothing like the game of S.S.O.C.  ( socky socky on command ....... even if its a McDonalds drive through. ) 

What will the churchgoing ZH'ers think of me?

HardlyZero's picture

Perhaps the Captain's flotilla will make a visit to the islands this season.

wahrheit's picture

Cutting in to the US cut of the international heroin trade by reinvigorating the Golden Triangle in favor of Chinese interests? Or a Chinese version of Dyncorp child sex trafficking? Or BOTH

Make Uncle Sam SMASH!

Puncher75's picture

Hope & Change!!!

JLee2027's picture

and lots of sand.


I can just see the damage one hurricane can do though. Idiots.

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

Just what I was thinking, that sand 'island' is like 3 feet above sea level (so it appears).  One massive Typhoon will wipe it off the map.  Hopefully...

Cadfael's picture

Well, we built up Johnston atoll (   ) and  it's survived for over 60 years. It even survived a Thor nuclear missile explosion in the 60's. I doubt a typhoon would deter China, or the U.S.A.

wahrheit's picture

Yeah it's not like they're building thatched roof huts for tourists.

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

Johnson Atoll is not in the hurricane zone, in fact, it has been struck exactly one time in 1972 by a hurricane.  Hurricane Celeste was the first known tropical cyclone to strike Johnston Atoll as a hurricane.  It had maximum peak winds of 135 mph, which is quite weak.  In fact, Following the storm, the weather station on the island measured a maximum wind speed of 105 mph, which is not comparable to the storms that strike in the south China Sea...

demoses's picture

Looking at the first three pictures I just have to wonder. This same "superpower" has this amazing pictures (level of detail on the third picture...) of an island on another part of the globe but at the same time totally blurry/unspecific/gray&white pictures in Ukraine?

JohninMK's picture

These are 'low grade' commercial pictures, not the real McCoy.

yellowsub's picture

The only thing missing is the Street view!


sushi's picture

How about the Missile, Radar, and Fighter jets view?

Maybe with an add-on Cemetery View os we can see how it all ends up. With a complementary "Inside the merchants of death bank vault view" just to make sure everything is visible.


Hans-Zandvliet's picture

Brilliant observation!

Unfortunately, it seems that most people can't be bothered anymore about facts and connecting dots.

Putin has been declared the villain, facts or no facts, and that's that: on to WW-III.

Reminds me of a song of Sting: "Forget about the future and get on with the past!"

Chuckster's picture

Is this some of our business?

Looks like we got a war in Syria.  Why do I think we knew exactly what Saudi Arabia was doing.  Now we know why Israel was so quiet.  I wonder if Oby is going to have a surprised look on his face.

Arthur's picture

Isreal main interest in syria was limiting the influence of Hamas.  Hamas inturn is helping Assad  at the behest of Iran who is also is helped by Russia. But don't forget Russia is no friend of Hamas nor Iran.  They all hate and are using ISIS.  None care abbout the average poor smuck Syrian, except Lebabnon, Jordan which are swamped  and to a lesser extent Turkey who only wants to fuck the kurds.  The Europeanans didn't care until it was too late

The who inferno is a cluster fuck and the Israeli's are just trying to keep their heads down.  



Normalcy Bias's picture

They're gonna start walking all over Obama. It will be fun to watch.

pakled's picture

Yeah. They're gonna abuse him like a substitute teacher.

Son of Loki's picture

Just be patient. China may implode from within seeing how people reacted there [negatively] to the Gubmints major propaganda New Years Celebration Event ... which was thoroghly blasted by the people thru social media pissin goff the gubmint royally.