Update: January 23, 2022 7:51 p.m. STI
beijing [China]Jan 23 (ANI): The People’s Liberation Army has established and upgraded its outposts in the geopolitically important South China Sea, according to a report.
“The People’s Liberation Army in the South China Sea: An Organizational Guide” published by Recorded Future, a private cybersecurity company specializing in modernizing Chinese military facilities in the South China Sea.
New People’s Liberation Army units have been created and existing ones have been upgraded over the past decade to become outposts in the South China Sea, leaving the Chinese military better placed to project power into the wider Indo-Pacific region, according to Radio Free Asia.
China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and is engaged in territorial disputes with several neighboring countries.
The Chinese army occupies the entire Paracel archipelago and at least seven elements of the Spratlys, with the number of soldiers stationed there estimated at more than 10,000, according to the report.
Focusing primarily on protecting China’s maritime and territorial claims, the units have received significant funding and grown rapidly over the past decade, according to Radio Free Asia.
By projecting energy into the South China Sea, Beijing wants to project energy into and beyond the first island chain, control access to vital sea communication routes or engage with the United States in a dispute over the status of Taiwan.
The 33-page report provides up-to-date and comprehensive research on China’s strong military presence on the islands and features of the South China Sea.
Zachary Haver, Chinese defense analyst at Recorded Future and author of the report, said the biggest difficulty was identifying PLA units.
“China began fundamentally revamping the PLA around 2015, according to Haver, and has deployed significant numbers of new forces to the South China Sea over the past decade,” he said. (ANI)