>> Up close the islands are almost like normal towns. Sports grounds, airstrips, streets and regular buildings, but these are the Chinese bases, built n reefs in the disputed water of the South China sea. Reuters' Gred has been investigating new data that paint a shocking picture of just how fast China has been building up these islands.
>> China's build up in the South China sea has been alarming military observers for some years now. It's taking place across a series of
] and reefs that start about 750 miles from the mainland Chinese coast. Subi, Fiery Cross and Mischief Reefs are the most built up. Data obtained by Reuters shows there are now hundreds of structures, where they were very few or none just a few years ago.
Those facilities include full-scale runways, warheads that can take virtually any ship the Chinese Navy has, and missile emplacements. This is where many observers believe the first Chinese troops and jet fighters could soon be stationed on the South China Sea, deep in the heart of Southeast Asia.>> Subi is now China's biggest built up reef in the Spratly Islands.
The new data from independent non-profit Earth Rise Media, shows that Subi now has nearly 400 buildings. Add in Mischief and Fiery cross, and that number climbs to almost 800. The region is hotly contested between a number of Asian nations. China claims these islands as its own but Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines, all lays separate claims.
>> Taiwan, the Philippines and specially Vietnam has been racing to complete their own island bases, but the scope of China's development outpaced them all. From the sheer scale of land reclaimed and the hundreds of buildings. Many analysts now believe that the first full-scale based in Southeast Asia are effectively complete.
>> The Trump Administration says it's raised concerns with China about its continued military build up. That's after reports that china installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Subi, Mischief, and Fiery Cross just last month. China's Defense Ministry did not respond to Reuter's request for comment, but Beijing has consistently said the facility is of a civilian use or limited self-defense purposes.