Featured this issue

  • CSIS’ Bonnie Glaser and Dr. Mira Rapp Hooper sit down to discuss the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China.
  • View exclusive new photos and analysis of Johnson South Reef and Fiery Cross Reef.
  • View Updated Island Size Data.


Reflections on the Strategic and Economic Dialogue:
An Interview with Bonnie Glaser

S&ED Key Quotations

What we’re looking for is a region in which disputes are dealt with through – peacefully through diplomacy. What we’re looking for is a South China Sea in which the smallest fishing boat from the Philippines or Vietnam or Malaysia has the ability to traverse
international waters with the same confidence that the largest American warship can demonstrate in the same space.

—Daniel R. Russel, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Navigation freedom in the South China Sea is guaranteed. We do believe that there will not be any issue or problem with navigational freedom in future. We hope the U.S. can be impartial and objective to serve peace and stability in this region.

—Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China

This is the period where typhoons usually take place in the South China Sea, and so there is often a lull in the activity, but I think in addition to that, the Chinese will probably not be too active because of Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to the United
States in September, and the Chinese are attaching priority to having a successful summit. That said, I do think that activity will again pick up again, perhaps in the fall. The Chinese are going to continue with construction, militarization, but
what we have over the summer is at least an opportunity for more dialogue.


—Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser, Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS


New Spratly Island Imagery & Analysis

Fiery Cross Reef

As of June 28, 2015, China is expanding the construction of its island facilities on Fiery Cross Reef. The construction of a 3,000 meter airstrip is nearly complete. China continues to pave and mark the airstrip and an apron and taxiway have been added adjacent to the runway. Prior photos showed that a small lake existed in the middle of the island; this has since been filled in. Personnel are now visible walking around the island.A sensor array has also been constructed and additional support facilities are being built. Meanwhile, a naval vessel is moored in the port. The size of the island is estimated at 2,740,000 square meters. The island has a partially-developed port with nine temporary loading piers. The harbor area is approximately 630,000 square meters. Two helipads, up to 10 satellite communications antennas, and one possible radar tower are also visible. Also visible are two lighthouses and one cement plant.


Johnson South Reef

South Johnson Reef was one of the first facilities to finish principal land reclamation. Since the seawalls have gone up, China has added a small port with limited berth space and two loading stations. A radar tower is nearing completion at the north end of the island with a probable radome staged nearby. A second radar tower and a probable weapons tower are under construction at the east end of the island. The harbor area is approximately 3,000 square meters with an entrance 125 meters wide. There are two helipads on the reef and up to three satellite communications antennas. A new large multi-level military facility has been built in the center of the island. Up to six security and surveillance towers are being built with four possible weapons towers also under construction. Agricultural facilities, a lighthouse, and a possible solar farm with 44 panels, in addition to two wind turbines, have been sighted.


Tracking Reclamation: New Updates

Estimated landmass for China’s reclaimed reefs:

  • Subi Reef

    3,950,000 sq. meters

  • Cuarteron Reef

    231,100 sq. meters

  • South Johnson Reef

    109,000 sq. meters

  • Mischief Reef

    5,580,000 sq. meters

  • Hughes Reef

    76,000 sq. meters

  • Gaven Reef

    136,000 sq. meters

  • Fiery Cross Reef

    2,740,000 sq. meters