Do not follow my idleness by taking your eyes off the South China Sea. Yes, I know it's round the other side of the globe, that one cannot be quite sure where it begins and ends, that it's full off titchy little islands that no-one has ever heard of and, in summary, it's all very boring-snoring! However, as I have indicated before, it could in the near future become intensely, even painfully, exciting - and we all know, do we not, that in international geo-politics, 'exciting' is bad, 'boring-snoring' is good! Before we go further allow me to indicate where this particular unexploded dispute is situated. It lies on the Senkaku Islands, uninhabited at the moment but claimed by the Japanese on the grounds of past history but now claimed by a resurgent China keen, perhaps fanatical, to establish its domination over the South China Sea
David Archibold at The American Thinker details the Chinese military preparations being made prior to what he believes will be their eventual 'invasion' of these uninhabited islands which Japan claims as sovereign territory. The Chinese are busy building a new naval and air base on the Nanji Islands which is the closest Chinese territory to the disputed islands. It will bring the Senkaku's into helicopter range which neatly allows the Chinese to 'hop over' the unarmed Japanese coast guard vessels currently 'protecting' the islands:
The round trip from the Nanji Islands to the Senkakus is 370 miles (600 km). The ferry range of Chinese troop transport helicopters is 500 miles (800 km). Japan has coast guard vessels around the Senkakus. They are unarmed. Chinese ships would be interdicted by the Japanese coast guard vessels and China would be the aggressor. But helicopters could fly right past the Japanese coast guard and land troops unopposed. Within minutes there would be photographs of the Chinese flag being raised on the peaks of the islands. A few minutes later they would be on the net. And Japan would be the aggressor in removing them. So that is what these helipads are for. It is all about how to start a war without being painted as the aggressor.
So far the Japanese have refrained from placing any troops on the Senkakus in order not to escalate tensions. According to Mr. Archibold that is a big mistake, "If the Chinese have to step over dead Japanese bodies when they attack, that will put Japan in a far better moral position." Watch this space!