MISCHIEF REEF, SOUTH CHINA SEA — China may be building a third airstrip in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, according to a Washington-based think tank.
Satellite images taken on September 8 show that China had reclaimed a piece of land with a retaining wall about 3,000 meters long on Mischief Reef, which is suspected to be an airstrip under construction, CNN reported. China is already building airstrips on Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef.
"If it does turn out to be a runway, China will have three airstrips that can carry any plane the PLA [People's Liberation Army] has to offer," Greg Poling, the director of Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies' Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, told CNN.
The United States says China has reclaimed some 2,000 acres, or the equivalent of around 1,500 football fields, in the Spratly Islands over the past 18 months, according to CNN.