China expands its naval base in South China Sea.
Satellite image of Yulin Naval Base. Image Credit: The Drive
China has expanded its naval base in the South China Sea. The Yulin naval base also known as Sanya Naval Base, is located on the island province of Hainan in the northern part of the South China Sea. China claims about 90% of the disputed South China Sea. This has infuriate countries that have a claim of the sea; Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Philippines. They disagree with China’s exaggerated territorial claim, but so far are powerless to act to protect their territory. Regardless of the continued protest by South China Sea countries and repeated warnings by the United States, China has continued the expansion of military bases, while also conducting routine patrolling by its navy ships and military aircraft.
The Yulin naval base used to accept just normal submarines, but now has been upgraded to accept nuclear submarines. The base is continuously being modernized as part of a long-term Chinese naval modernization. It uses a cave system to conceal the submarines from satellite imaging or spy planes.
Yulin Navy base is strategically very important for the Chinese navy, as it will serve as another base from which to send ships to Spratly islands and Paracel islands. From these islands, the Chinese navy can monitor other countries’ navy ships passing through the South China Sea. The sea in Spratly islands and Paracel islands is very rough, and for this reason, the Chinese navy ships cannot be stationed there, but will do so in Yulin Navy base.
China’s fleet of submarines is expanding and so does the quality of the submarines being produced. The underground facility in Yulin Naval base will allow the submarines to be hidden from satellite imaging. The US is continuously monitoring the South China Sea, and maintains a naval presence to bring a balance in the firepower in the region.