China’s government repeats its Navy plays a “strategically pivotal role in maintaining national safety and development interest.” The US and its allies in Asia don’t think so. “There are concerns we raise with our Chinese counterparts on a regular basis,” said US Defense Secretary Ash Carter on April 6, 2015.
Among these concerns, there is satellite observation of China’s building various installations – of likely military purpose – in disputed islands in the South China Sea. When one takes a close look at satellite images delivered by France-based CNES, one sees that China has built the first section of concrete runway in the Spratly Islands archipelago of which sovereignty has been disputed for decades between a number of countries, particularly China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“The related activities carried out by China in its islands and reefs are reasonable and legal and other countries have no right to interfere,” replied China’s Ministry of National Defense to growing concerns. Presently, the situation has become so tense that the Pentagon’s priority is trying to use influence to make sure “that situation doesn’t get out of control,” Carter told troops in Yokota Air Base, Japan.