Thursday, June 25, 2009

PLA General Advises Building Bases in the South China Sea

PLA General Advises Building Bases in the South China Sea
Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 13
June 24, 2009 04:39 PM Age: 1 days
Category: China Brief, In a Fortnight, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific
By: Russell Hsiao

The sixth meeting of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's (CPPCC) Standing Committee, the highest-level advisory body of the People's Republic of China, met ahead of the general plenary that is taking place in Beijing from June 22 to 27. During one of the committee's working group meetings on June 18, the former deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and standing committee member of the CPPCC, General Zhang Li, recommended that China build an airport and seaport on Mischief Reef located in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The additional facilities, Zhang said, would enable China to conduct aircraft patrol of the area, support Chinese fishing vessels and demonstrate the country's sovereignty over the disputed islands (Ming Pao [Hong Kong], June 22). The call for building military installments on the disputed islets by General Zhang, a senior high-ranking military officer, may be signs of China's increased willingness to use force in resolving territorial disputes as tension between China and ASEAN-member states (i.e. Philippines, Vietnam) boil over the contested islets in the region.

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