- - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Photos released Monday show China is making progress on building several dozen hardened shelters for military aircraft on disputed islands in the South China Sea that China claims are sovereign territory.

The photos were collected and studied by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank. They show construction work on man-made islands at Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs. The think tank reports the images were taken in June and July, reports Fox News.

The hardened, concrete hangars would be suitable for fighter aircraft, strategic bombers, or air-refueling aircraft. The announcement by the Chinese of an air defense zone or ADIZ would seriously increase tensions in the area.

Adm. Scott Swift, Commander of the Pacific Fleet also criticized China-Russia joint naval exercises planned next month in the South China Sea, saying the choice of location would not help with “increasing the stability within the region.”

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