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The Chinese government appears to have constructed several large military defense structures on artificial islands it built in contested areas of the South China Sea.
Aerial photos published Wednesday in a report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative show the build-up of large anti-aircraft guns and what appear to be smaller missile-defense systems on each of China’s outposts in the Spratly Islands.
The group, which has been monitoring the military construction via satellite since June, said China has constructed nearly identical headquarters buildings to house the defense technology on each of its four small islands.
The report says the defense structures likely would serve as a “last line of defense” against attacks on the soon-to-be-operational air bases located in the islands.