- - Friday, November 18, 2016

Vietnam is concerned about Chinese expansion on islands in the South China Sea, a vital area for Vietnam’s economy. In response, the communist nation is extending a runway on one of the islands it controls nearby to enable the strip to handle combat aircraft. Vietnam holds claim to many islands in the same area as China, making conflict almost inevitable.

“Satellite images taken this month showed Vietnam had lengthened its runway on Spratly Island from less than 2,500 feet (760 meters) to more than 3,300 feet (1 km), Washington’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said on Thursday,” reports Reuters.

Further expansion looks to increase the runway length to over 400,000 feet, which will enable it to support reconnaissance, transport, and fighter, ground attack jets. Earlier this year, Vietnam fortified several of the islands it controls with rocket launchers that could strike Chinese targets in the area.

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