According to a tweet by South China Sea News, satellite imagery showed what appeared to be a surface-to-air missile base being completed in Ninh Minh district. of Guangxi province, China, about 20 km from the Vietnamese border in early 2021 (BBC has not verified this information).
A spokesman for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry in early February said Hanoi would verify that a missile base is being completed by China near the border with Vietnam.
Answering the questions of reporters at a regular press conference on February 4 about the information that China is completing a surface-to-air missile base in Guangxi, only about 20 km from the Vietnamese border, Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said: “We will verify the information as asked by the reporter.”
Earlier, the Twitter account of South China Sea News, a non-governmental organization that studies South China Sea (East Sea) issues, posted satellite images that appeared to appear as if a surface-to-air missile base was being finalized. Ninh Minh district, Quang Tay province, China, is about 20 km from the Vietnamese border.
According to South China Sea News, the image also shows the presence of radars and at least six launchers along a military runway. Satellite data revealed that the base has been built since June 2019.
Another structure, which looks like a helicopter base, is also being built about 60 kilometers from the Vietnamese border.
The operations came a week after China announced that its bombers were carrying out a mock attack on the USS Theodore Roosevelt destroyer fleet, according to the Indian times.
The Chinese side did not have any response to the above information and the BBC did not directly verify these images.
Regarding the incident on February 1, 2021, China passed a new Law on Coast Guard that allows its coast patrol boats the right to fire at foreign ships that Beijing considers infringing its territorial waters, Ms. Hang said countries need to comply with international laws and agreements, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in enacting and implementing their own maritime laws.
Ms. Hang also reiterated that Vietnam has sufficient legal and historical evidence to prove sovereignty in the Hoang Sa (Paracels) and the Truong Sa (Spratlys), in accordance with international law. And that Vietnam will resolutely and persistently take measures in accordance with international law to protect its legal and legitimate rights.
Prepare for conflict?
Alexander Vuving, a professor at Daniel K. Inouye’s Asia-Pacific Security Research Center in Hawaii, was quoted on VOA on Feb. 26: “This is a signal that China is preparing for war along its border … maybe not today, not tomorrow but in the long run.” Last year, China had border skirmishes with India after increasing its presence military in this area. China is also angry when the US navy repeatedly sends warships into waters near the Chinese coast.
Last October, Xi Jinping told his soldiers to think about getting ready for war.
China has also increased the accretion of artificial islands in disputed areas in the South China Sea to serve as military bases.
Collin Koh, a maritime security researcher at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, told VOA that PetroVietnam is proposing new natural gas exploration projects in the South China Sea, so the nearby missile base has may be a “warning from China.”