China targets military bases on Pacific Islands for development

In the heart of the Pacific Ocean is a small island of 3.6 square miles called the Canton. Here, the dilapidated runway served as an important transportation and supply center for the United States during World War II. After being abandoned for over 40 years, the island is subject to CCP expansion.

Kanton Island is made up of coral atolls and belongs to the Republic of Kiribati. During World War II, Canton Airport served as a US military air base, and US bombers used the runway as part of the “Air Ferry” route from Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Kiribati is an island nation that spans 32 atolls in the Pacific Ocean, covering more than 1.4 million square miles.

Kiribati Assembly Disclosure in May The CCP was considering plans to repair the abandoned runways and bridges on Kanton Island and restore the rest of the US military base.

The Kiribati government has stated that the facility upgrade program is for private purposes to facilitate transportation and tourism on the island, but hardware facilities also meet military needs and are controversial.

The runway length on Kanton Island is approximately 6,200 feet, and if repaired or upgraded, the total length of the runway can exceed 7,800 feet. The U.S. military believes that upgrades to existing runways will meet the requirements of fighters, as well as large transport aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, and bombers. That’s why CCP’s Canton Airport expansion program is getting a lot of attention.

“Number one” challenge

US Defense Directive on Chinese Tasks Enacted in February I explained about Beijing As a “number one pace challenge” to Washington’s strategic pace. “China poses the biggest long-term challenge for the United States,” the Pentagon concluded in 2022. Budget plan..

Sensitive locations on Kanton Island underscore its strategic importance in the US-China struggle for Pacific domination.

If Chinese troops invade Kiribati and develop Kanton Island as a military base, a small island less than 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii and 4,300 miles from the west coast of the United States could become a thorn on the side of the United States Pacific Fleet. .. .. The CCP can also use geographic locations to monitor the US military. This small island could also pose a direct threat to Guam’s US and Allied forces.

If it evolves into a CCP military presence in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, such facilities are unlikely to survive a hot war. The financial benefits to Kiribati are nothing compared to the dangers it can pose.

“This is a private project, but we are worried about China’s main intentions,” said Tessie Lambourne, leader of Kiribati’s main opposition. SCMP reported.. Worried that Beijing had a military purpose, she asked why the government did not clarify why the CCP would fund the project. Help them for their benefit. “

The details of Beijing’s plan to renovate and expand this secluded and worn airport are unknown to the people and opposition of Kiribati. Pretending to be economic development and climate change adaptation, the project could provide Beijing with the equivalent of an immovable aircraft carrier capable of deploying fighters and supporting all military operations, including surveillance and potential combat operations. There is sex.

CCP’s global ambitions

In early 2017, Beijing acquired the first overseas military base in Djibouti. To get the support of the host government, the Chinese Communist Party has acquired a local elite through a strategic investment portfolio and diplomacy.

The ambition of global expansion of CCP is also manifesting in Indo-Pacific countries. For example, since 2020, the US government has recognized CCP’s interest in establishing a military outpost at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base in the Gulf of Thailand.

Satellite images show that the construction of the Ream Naval Base is progressing rapidly. However, when US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Ruth Sherman visited Phnom Penh in June, some of the US-funded construction facilities were demolished.Since then, the U.S. military attaché in Cambodia has been Access denied In some areas of the Ream Naval Base during observations of Cambodian government-sponsored bases. The lack of transparency on the Cambodian side raises suspicion that the CCP is involved in the upgrade of the Ream base, perhaps allowing Beijing to project its power into the Indian Ocean.

Along with Cambodia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also where Beijing is trying to establish a military base. In 2018, the UAE and CCP signed a $ 300 million agreement to upgrade COSCO Shipping’s cargo terminal at Harifa Port in Abu Dhabi. The cargo terminal is near the Al Dhafra Air Base, where 3,500 US military personnel are stationed. At Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, most US Navy vessel visits take place outside the United States.

The establishment of a base in the United Arab Emirates will significantly expand the presence of CCP units in and around maritime chokepoints, including the Strait of Hormuz and the southern entrance to the Red Sea. United Arab Emirates bases could also be part of a chain of other potential CCP military bases in the Indian Ocean, such as Pakistan and Burma.

In May, US intelligence monitored two CCP aircraft that unloaded unidentified cargo in the UAE. Reported by WSJ.. Some US officials believe that the CCP intends to establish a naval base in the UAE. In addition, intelligence reports show that Beijing has discussed sending hundreds of military personnel to the UAE. 2020 Pentagon Report (pdfRegarding China’s military expansion, the Chinese Communist Party is likely already considering expanding overseas logistics facilities, and said the UAE is one of the cautious countries. Their suspicious interactions could undermine the sale of F-35 fighters to the UAE in the United States, and Washington is concerned that the UAE may share sensitive fighter technology with the CCP. I am.

In early May, Stephen Townsend, the highest general of the United States Africa Command, Warning about Beijing’s desire to build an important naval port on the Atlantic coast of Africa to house submarines and aircraft carriers adds to the threat to the US military in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Townsend, the Chinese Communist Party has already reached out to build naval facilities in countries in southern Africa, from Mauritania to Namibia. If this plan is realized, the CCP will be able to provide base support to the Atlantic Navy.

This issue cannot be addressed by the Pentagon alone, as the CCP sets barriers to the United States’ global military strategy by developing foreign military bases for economic and private construction. you can not.

In the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and even the Arctic Circle, the expansion of the Chinese Communist Party’s global military bases is clear and showing signs of further growth. But the essence of blocking the CCP’s global expansion ambitions is not the issue of conflict over military power, but the issue of influence over local host governments. Weakening the host country’s acceptance of the Chinese Communist Party’s construction bases and breaking military ties with the Chinese Communist Party are areas where the United States can take advantage of its resources over the Chinese Communist Party.

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