United States Navy via Wikimedia Commons

China has been increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea as of late, using the distraction caused by the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) to conduct numerous threatening naval drills and maneuvers near Taiwan, and in the rest of the region. This has caused U.S. warships to increase their regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) in the area, ratcheting up tensions. (RELATED: Chinese Aircraft Carrier Threatens Taiwan as USS Roosevelt Sidelined)

But now, the Express reports, satellites have spotted Chinese military aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLANAF) landing on one of its man-made islands, further escalating those tensions.

The Express continues:

Satellite images show a PLANAF at the Fiery Cross Reef on the strategically located Islands situated north of the South China Sea. Jane’s Information Group, a defence intelligence group, warned the sighting could be further signs the People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force is starting to use it as a base of operations.

Sean O’Connor, principal analyst at Jane’s, said: “Two sightings of surveillance aircraft within a month could indicate that the PLANAF is beginning to periodically base aircraft on Fiery Cross Reef.

The area is highly disputed territory with rival ownership claims from Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The Chinese military is systematically continuing its construction of artificial reefs in the internationally disputed waters, despite protests from these smaller neighboring nations. (RELATED: Are China’s Artificial Island Bases Sinking?)

The Express further notes specifics of the military reinforcements China is completing on its three most important island bases:

According to the AMTI, China now has seven outposts in the Spratlys but is focusing its efforts fortifying a trio of bases dubbed the ‘Big Three’. The largest and most advanced at Fiery Cross Reef has been completely transformed from three reefs in 2009 to a major military installation today. Fiery Cross is now home to a military garrison, an airfield and a naval base after years of dredging piled up tons of sand to create an artificial island.

Analysts are concerned that China’s ultimate aim is to buttress its claim to the majority of the South China Sea, and as the Express reports, this is “increasing fears the movement of ships and aircraft in the region could soon be restricted by Beijing.”

O’Connor also said in the Express that, “Aircraft could be regularly rotated through the base from other PLANAF units in the South Sea Fleet.” He said there was space in the hangar at Fiery Cross Reef for at least three surveillance aircraft and others could be parked in the open.

These illegal Chinese activities have raised concerns in the U.S. military. U.S. Navy Commander Reann Mommsen, spokesperson for the U.S. 7th Fleet, was quoted in the Express as saying, “Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas. “Including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships.”

As I noted earlier, two U.S. Navy warships, the guided-missile destroyer, USS Barry, and the guided-missile cruiser, USS Bunker Hill, recently sailed through the contested Spratly Islands as part of a series of FONOPs. Expect more assertive U.S. naval activity in the area in the next few weeks and months.

READ NEXT: The Most Egregious Examples of China’s Coronavirus Cover-Up >>

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  2. Stop doing any business with the slope head little bashtards. Let their goods rot on our docks. We are right now with China where we were with Japan back in 1939. They have been firing financial shots at our bow for years now. We end up eatting our politicians scheit. So long farewell China. Oh we have to stop selling our coal to China. Remind AOC that China and all the mask wearers in Beijing have 30 years to be a part of the clean air act. It does nothing unless everyone is on board with the clean air act. Obama gave China all of our countries Patents. Gave them Cash For Clunkers. What we got was breakable knock-offs. We don`t need any countries business monkey business.

    1. I had that BS three times yesterday. Never did get an answer as to why it was being moderation. I used a word, s. u _ k s, that they used 3 times in their post. Don’t know if that was it or not. Didn’t expect it from AAN.

    1. Wonder how those chi-com made islands will hold up under a bunch of daisy cutters?


  3. Move to Taiwan and let them stew as Taiwan becomes rich, technology rich, and the financial capital in Asia next to Japan. Let them stew and rot in their dictatorship. I have been there many times and they can easily do this with our support and recognition as an independent nation.

  4. You can’t tell me that the Chinese Government is not greaing up for war against the United States. First they weaken the United States with the Coronavirus both Phisicaly and Finatialy. That is a war tactic that goes back a thousand years. I really think the President and all of his generals need to wake up and realize what these Chinese are doing.

    1. Not that I disagree with you, but when you write like a third grader, it weakens the otherwise valid argument you are making. Please learn to spell.

        1. People need to understand that there are a lot of Dyslexic people out there and it makes spelling very hard, I always got 100 on my spelling tests because i memorized the words, but looking some words in the dictionary are almost impossible. I’m not hearing the right sounds. So be kind.

  5. Cut off all fortune cookies to China. We invented them so just tell them ‘We’re gonna keep em!’

  6. Daniel, I couldn’t agree with you more. It is never more apparent that the cost of our freedom is and always will be eternal vigilance to recognize and engage our enemies.

  7. The Democrats are worse enemies of the USA than China. In fact the Democrats are the best friends the Chinese ever had and the worst enemies the USA has ever had. Obama is a Muslim traitor and sold out America. The Clinton’s sold our manufacturing base to China for campaign contributions and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton is a evil and wicked devil.

  8. Not to worry. According to Obama and the rest of the Democrats these man made islands will soon be under water due to climate change.

  9. Pray. It would take on a small typhoon for God to remove all trace of the Chinese from that island. And why would prayer work? “The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

  10. All of you should be calm and pray for peace. If Donald John Trump shuts off China from trade, it will be a shock to the world and to the US economy. He is doing it slowly and the Chinese are worried. They know they can not win a war unless they do it from within. How many politicians can they buy before they get their way? The safest place to be is Washington DC because all our enemies are there buying our politicians. The US Navy can undo all they have built in a day.

  11. I will pray for our country always, and for our President to straighten them democrats out and put some of them behind pars. And may God keep China from their evil plans for the world!!! God bless America!!!

  12. I will pray for our country always, and for our President to straighten them democrats out and put some of them behind pars. And may God keep China from their evil plans for the world!!! God bless America!!!

  13. China speaks with forked tongue. Not good, bad, bad! Deliberately released epidemic on the world, steal technical information, under cut businesses they wish to steal. Time to stomp them like a bug on the ground. Otherwise they will end up killing us, or at least make us their slaves!

  14. If people take the output of the U.S. government with that proverbial “grain of salt”, would a ton of salt be appropriate for the output of the Chinese government, or might it take multiple tons. The actions of national governments, one would assume, were directed toward enhancing their countries status and position. The actions of the Chinese government are obviously so directed, with some success too. One sometimes wonders as to the desired ends of action taken by our government.

  15. when i see the democrats backing chinese over the american people WILLINGLY, it makes me wonder just how many of nasty’s clowns we are going to have to shoot to remedy the damage. the bullcrap we have to listen to coming from the democrap trolls on cnn,msnbc,fox,abc,pbs,and the rest of the clowns on the cable television GARBAGE SPEWER.

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