The South China Sea Transformed: AMTI’s Latest Issue


Fiery Cross Reef, site of an active Chinese reclamation project, is one of the many areas featured in the latest AMTI issue on the South China Sea.

CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has obtained exclusive never-before-seen imagery of China’s building and land reclamation efforts in the Spratly Islands, a highly contested area in the South China Sea. One area of note for East Asia watchers for some time has been Fiery Cross Reef shown above:

    • Controlled by China, which garrisons approximately 200 PLA troops and has radar and surveillance capabilities   
    • Active land reclamation began in August 2014, although activity around the reef commenced three months prior    
    • Between August and November, Chinese dredgers created a land mass that spans the entire existing reef and is approximately 3,000 meters long and 200-300 meters wide   
    • Photos taken by Digital Globe indicate that Chinese reclamation has increased the area of Fiery Cross Reef 11 times over, growing it from .08 square kilometers to .96 square kilometers   
    • Fiery Cross may now be more than three times larger than Itu Aba, formerly the largest of the Spratlys
    • Analysts believe that China may also be constructing an airstrip on Fiery Cross

To read more of Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper’s analysis and to see before/after aerial shots of additional South China Sea construction visit CSIS Asia Program’s micro-site AMTI.


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