China on war footing as it beefs up three air bases near Taiwan amid WW3 fears, satellite images suggest

CHINA appears to be beefing up three air bases near Taiwan amid fears Beijing is preparing for World War Three.

New satellite images have revealed China is upgrading its military bases along its southeastern coast, nearest to Taiwan, suggesting Beijing might be stepping up its plans to invade the island.



The building work at the three airbases in Fujian province will give long-term logistical air combat support to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, which has repeatedly invaded Taiwan airspace in the last month.

The work is taking place at the Chinese air force's bases at Longtian, Huian, and Zhangzhou – all of which lie between 100 and 200 miles from Taiwan.

The upgrading appears to fall in line with Beijing’s increasingly aggressive stance towards the island nation.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has long threatened to use force to bring it under its control, with regular invasion drills carried out by its military.

The images, captured by Planet Labs and published by military site The Drive, showed work on aircraft shelters and reinforced munitions storage started early last year and continued during the Covid pandemic.

Four aircraft structures are seen being built at one end of Longtian Airbase in the pictures, which would be the only protective aviation infrastructure on site.

With advances in satellite imagery, the shelters would also help keep China's aircraft and their general readiness away from prying eyes.

And the construction of administrative buildings and possible barracks points to a rise in military personnel at the base. 

At Huian Airbase, the images reveal the construction of three storage bunkers – likely for munitions and minor runway extensions.

Meanwhile, at Zhangzhou airbase, there is visible construction of a new surface-to-air missile defense site – the third one at the same location.

The dedicated surface-to-air missile defense sites at the three airbases have also been actively rotating equipment and training, The Drive reports.

China's upgrades to its air bases suggests steps are being taken to boost the military's capacity for operations, and improve the concealment of its assets and operations.

INVASION FEARS

Fears about a Chinese invasion of Taiwan have been mounting in recent weeks and on the face of it the odds are stacked against the island.

On paper China’s military dwarfs that of Taiwan but a closer look reveals how kill zone beaches, hostile terrain and a 500,000 strong guerrilla army could inflict a Vietnam War-style humiliation on Beijing.

In order to successfully capture the island, China would have to ship an enormous number of troops, plus their supplies, across the 80-mile Taiwan Strait.

The operation would be the largest amphibious operation in human history, easily surpassing the scale of the D-Day landings.

But when they arrive on Taiwan, the Chinese will have to get past defences far stronger than those faced by the Allies in WWII and significant natural obstacles.

Taiwan has a rugged coastline with steep cliffs making only 13 beaches suitable for landing, which have been turned into killing zones.

If Chinese forces do manage to make it ashore they Chinese troops who make it ashore would face roughly 175,000 highly trained full-time soldiers.

There are also hundreds of thousands of fully trained reservists ready to resist any attempt at occupation, using bunkers honeycombing the hills as cover from which to attack the invaders.

Taiwan's foreign minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said the relationship between Taiwan and China was at its lowest for forty years.

Chiu said he feared that by "2025, China will bring the cost and attrition to its lowest".

TENSIONS MOUNT

As tensions mount, Joe Biden said he spoke to Chinese president Xi Jinping and the pair affirmed that they would "abide by the Taiwan agreement".

The President was referring to Washington's long standing policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taiwan.

Washington merely acknowledges China's stance that the island belongs to it and that there is "one China" but takes no position on Taiwan's sovereignty.

China has ploughed an extra 1.35 trillion yuan (£151 billion) into military spending this year – a modest 6.8 per cent increase – as it seeks to extend its claim over territory in the South China Sea, according to The Times.

The rising superpower also boasts of having DF-26 missiles that could knock out targets across South East Asia with deadly precision and speed, prompting commentators to call the purchase of weaponry a new arms race.

China has also previously warned it would nuke Japan on the eve of the Olympics if it intervened in Taiwan.

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