(c) 2018, Bloomberg · David Tweed May 10, 2018 - China has landed a military plane on the last of its three airstrips in the disputed South China Sea, a Washington-based research institution said, amid renewed complaints about the country expanding its military presence in the busy shipping lane.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said satellite images from April 28 showed the first confirmed deployment of a military aircraft -- a Shaanxi Y-8 transport plane -- on Subi Reef. The structure hosts one of three runways China has built as part of a massive dredging and reclamation operation in the Spratlys chain since 2013, and was the last of three where military aircraft had been observed.
“This should be particularly concerning to the Philippines,” AMTI, a unit of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said on its website. About 100 Philippine civilians and a small military garrison are stationed on the Thitu islet, about 12 nautical miles away from Subi.