China intends to refurbish Kiribati’s abandoned airport to monitor U.S. Pacific Fleet

Kiribati’s opposition lawmaker, Mr. Lamborn, has revealed that the Chinese Communist Party is interested in renovating the abandoned airport in the country. Strategic scholar Zhang Rongming pointed out that Jigoku is only about a four-hour flight from Hawaii, and if China successfully renovates the airport there, it could become the best place for Chinese communist aircraft to monitor the U.S. Pacific fleet.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on May 29, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense think tank, the National Defense Security Research Institute (NDRI), released the latest edition of its biweekly defense security report.

According to Zhang, Tessie Lambourne, a member of Kiribati’s opposition party, recently revealed that China is making plans to refurbish the abandoned airport and bridge facilities on the island of Kanton, Kyrgyzstan. The airport, which has a nearly 2,000-meter-long runway, was used by the U.S. military during World War II.

Zhang Rongming pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party had wanted to acquire important sea and air hubs in the South Pacific, such as Guadalcanal Island in the Solomons. This attempt to refurbish the abandoned airfield in Kiribati is the second time the Chinese Communist Party has sought to develop the air in the Pacific islands. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party is targeting the construction of airport runways this time, showing that China is not satisfied with just acquiring airports or ports, but is moving forward with both sea and air.

Zhang Rongming said, since Kiribati is only about four hours away from Hawaii, if the Chinese Communist Party successfully builds an airport there, it may become the best place for Chinese aircraft to monitor the U.S. Pacific fleet. If tensions rise in the first island chain, the airport set up by the Chinese Communist Party in the country has the advantage of location, from which aircraft can monitor the movements of the U.S. fleet that is rushing to support the first island chain countries.

Zhang Rongming pointed out that China may deploy drones to carry out surveillance missions in Kiribati, taking into account the sensitivity of military aircraft, the potential for local opposition to the deployment in Kiribati, and the proximity to the United States, which may be detrimental to defense.

Zhang Rongming said, due to the limited range of drones, can not carry out the whole monitoring, so with the satellite to carry out the initial stage of air surveillance, sea surveillance may be left to underwater unmanned vehicles to carry out.

Kiribati established diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 2003 and broke them off in September 2019 in favor of resuming diplomatic relations with the Communist Party of China.