September 29, 2023
Hainan island: Referred to as ‘China’s Hawaii,’ the holiday hotspot can be a strategic navy base


Hong Kong
CNN
 — 

It’s often known as the “Hawaii of China,” a tropical island paradise the place the Chinese language center class enjoys sandy seashores, five-star resorts, and duty-free luxurious buying.

It’s additionally China’s largest free-trade port and host of the Boao Discussion board, an annual assembly of political and enterprise leaders dubbed “Asia’s Davos.”

However Hainan, China’s southernmost province, can be a strategically necessary island. And identical to Hawaii, it’s also dwelling to key navy bases.

As American officers reveal extra details about the Chinese language balloon shot down on February 4 after floating throughout the US airspace, Hainan, an island hundreds of miles away from America, has been introduced into focus.

Hainan island: Referred to as ‘China’s Hawaii,’ the holiday hotspot can be a strategic navy base

China has rejected US claims that the balloon was a surveillance gadget, as a substitute sustaining it was a civilian analysis airship blown off target.

In accordance with CNN reporting, US intelligence officers imagine the Chinese language balloon is a part of an intensive surveillance program run partly out of Hainan by the Chinese language navy.

china spy balloon

What the US is aware of about China’s spy balloon to date

US officers advised the New York Occasions they’d been monitoring the balloon because it lifted off from Hainan in late January. CNN beforehand reported that the US started monitoring the balloon lengthy earlier than it entered the airspace of Alaska.

American officers haven’t offered the detailed location of the alleged balloon launch web site on Hainan, and it’s not identified if the balloon was launched from a navy set up.

However the island, positioned on the northern fringe of the South China Sea, has nice strategic significance within the eyes of the Chinese language navy.

Out of sight of the vacation makers and enterprise vacationers, the southern fringe of Hainan is a serious base of the Folks’s Liberation Military (PLA) Navy, dwelling to a part of its South Sea Fleet.

The bottom not solely permits the PLA Navy to entry the contested waters within the South China Sea, but additionally the essential sea lane that hyperlinks the Asia-Pacific area with India and the Center East.

It was from this massive naval advanced that the Shandong, China’s second plane provider and the primary to be constructed domestically, was commissioned in 2019.

The advanced can be dwelling to nuclear-powered ballistic missile and assault submarines of China’s rising underwater fleet.

The Yulin Naval Base made headlines in 2020 when industrial satellites captured a PLA Navy sub coming into a tunnel resulting in underground docking services on the island.

Hainan additionally has bases for PLA fixed-wing plane and helicopters.

As well as, models from the maritime militia, a shadow power of supposed fishing boats whose existence China denies, function out of Hainan, Western specialists say.

In late 2021, a Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research report mentioned China was constructing new digital warfare, communications and intelligence gathering services on Hainan.

As latest as September 2022, satellite tv for pc photos confirmed China was increasing its submarine base on Hainan, including two new piers to the 4 present piers on the Yulin Naval Base.

Dwelling to 10 million individuals, Hainan is about 20 instances the scale of O’ahu, probably the most populated island in Hawaii and residential to Pearl Harbor.

Hainan’s economic system is among the many smallest of all Chinese language areas and provinces, with its GDP rating solely above far-flung Ningxia, Qinghai and Tibet. Agriculture contributes probably the most to its economic system.

In 2020, China rolled out its blueprint to rework your complete island of Hainan into the world’s largest free commerce port by 2035 – a coverage aimed to cut back Hainan’s dependency on conventional sectors and develop into a brand new driver for commerce and funding in China.

Hainan can be dwelling to the Wenchang House Launch Website, positioned on the northeastern fringe of the island. Chosen for its low latitude, the Wenchang web site permits for the heavy payload required for launching China’s new house station, the Tiangong. It’s able to launching the Lengthy March 5, probably the most highly effective Chinese language rocket up to now.