Travel

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

There are three famous islands in the South China Sea, among which the Nansha Islands have the largest area and the largest number of islands and reefs. Nansha is the southernmost territory of China, but it has been invaded by many countries because of the weakness of our navy in the last century.

But today, through the reclamation of the six islands under our control, we have a firm grip on the ability to control the nearby sea and air.

At present, China's second largest island in Nansha Zhubi Island after several generations of efforts not only become the administrative center of Nansha, and beautiful scenery future economic development will be promising.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

Zhubi Reef is the place where our fishermen have been active since ancient times, the area is small but the location has important value

When it comes to Zhubi Island, the majority of fishermen in the Spratlys are more familiar with its original name, Zhubi Reef.

Zhubi Reef is an isolated atoll reef located southwest of Zhongye Group Reef, just 23 kilometers from Zhongye Island.

It is a nearly pear-shaped irregular, polygonal atoll, about 6.5 km long and 3.7 km wide from the northeast to the southwest; the reef disk covers an area of 16.1 square kilometers, which is a large atoll in the South China Sea.

In fact, during the Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese fishermen have been working around the atoll and often pick up horseshoe snails, which have high economic value, on the reef.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

Since Zhubi Reef was a reef to the southwest of Zhongye Island at that time, Chinese fishermen called it "Ugly Wei Reef" according to the Bagua tradition.

At that time, fishermen in the South China Sea pronounced the word "ugly" as "subi", so it became "SubiReef" on the nautical charts drawn by the West.

It was only in 1947 when the Republic of China officially announced the names of the islands in the South China Sea that they were renamed "Zhubi Reef" according to foreign languages [1].

For a long period of history, China was in a state of having sea without defense in Nansha. During the Nationalist government, the navy also failed to control Zhubi Reef.

It was not until 1988, through the "3.14" naval battle, that our brave people's army recovered six islands and reefs in the Spratlys, including Zhubi Reef, in one fell swoop. The five-star red flag was raised on Zhubi Reef for the first time, and only from that time did the strategic significance of the island begin to emerge.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

The map shows that Zhubi Reef is north of the six islands and reefs under China's actual control in the Spratlys, and it controls the road to the Spratlys from the Xisha.

It is very amazing that the distance from Yongxing Island, the administrative center of Xisha Islands and the seat of Sansha City government today, to Zhubi Reef is 680 kilometers; while Zhubi Reef is 625 kilometers from Huangyan Island, and Huangyan Island is 615 kilometers from Yongxing Island forming a big magical triangle.

And Zhubi Island, 195 kilometers from Yongshun Island and 193 kilometers from Mischief Island, forms another strong triangle of support in the Spratly Islands.

To the north of Zhubi Reef are the twin islands occupied by Vietnam and the Philippines respectively, and to the east are Zhongye Island, Nanyao Island, Xiyue Island, Feixin Island and Mahuan Island occupied by the Philippines; to the south is Taiping Island, the only Nansha Island controlled by the Taiwan authorities, which can be said to be a front line in the battle with the enemy in Nansha.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

From high-rise houses to reclaimed islands, today's airport and docks have everything

The historical Zhubi Reef, like most reefs in the Spratlys, is actually located below the surface of the water, with only a small area exposed at low tide.

This is why the national government did not station troops on Zhubi Reef and Vietnam only put it under its control on the map.

When the People's Navy landed on Zhubi Reef in 1988, the question of how to establish a permanent presence became a problem that had to be solved.

Through practice, the officers and soldiers on the island came up with a way to build a tall house. Simply put, a house made of bamboo and wood, not much bigger than a pavilion, is built on top of the island through columns to ensure a foothold at all times.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

However, the first generation of the high house on Zhubi Reef is really unbearably shabby, with an area of only ten square meters but to accommodate several soldiers living.

At the same time the building materials are also very simple, a typhoon days make people feel shaky. Fortunately, a year later, our country has upgraded the tall house, from wooden materials to all-metal materials, the area increased to more than 30 square meters and no more safety concerns.

But it is not enough to solve only the survival of the officers and men, one year a naval admiral went to inspect on Zhubi Reef. He came back and said to others with great emotion: the soldiers and officers are really too bitter, as soon as they saw the leafy greens as if they had seen a mountain of seafood.

Although there is seawater everywhere, but because fresh water can only be transported by land, each bath has to rely on God to reward the rain.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

By 1996 a small-scale construction was carried out on Zhubi Reef. This time it was no longer a high-rise house but a concrete-padded three-story building with a simple transport supply dock and helicopter platform. Not only were living facilities such as satellite TV installed inside, but rainwater could also be collected to provide a source of fresh water.

This not only makes life more secure for officers and soldiers but also builds a radar station, achieving the ultimate goal of using the South China Sea islands to control the surrounding sea and air.

In 2007, China also dug an artificial waterway in the southeast of Zhubi Reef to allow ships to drive directly into the lagoon, which further improved conditions for the troops stationed on Zhubi Reef.

In order to avoid escalation in the South China Sea for more than 20 years, China has been trying to keep a low profile in the direction of the Spratlys.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

After recovering six islands and reefs through naval battles in 1988 it had to endure both the fact that Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries forcibly occupied the Spratly islands and reefs, and the inability to significantly improve the living conditions of the officers and soldiers stationed on the islands.

In 2012, with the covert support of the United States, the Philippines, which had suffered a loss due to the seizure of Chinese fishing boats at Huangyan Island, launched the "South China Sea Arbitration" case to the so-called International Court of Justice.

The Philippines' unilateral attempts to change the situation in the South China Sea have broken the previous tacit agreement between the parties and have allowed China to build in the Spratlys without having the previous concerns.

When the Philippine newspaper Manila Standard Today first reported in late March 2013 that a Chinese landing ship was unloading construction materials on Zhubi Reef, the Philippine Navy immediately sent a naval vessel on a cruise to the island to "deter" China [2].

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

The following year, China used the largest self-propelled winch dredger in Asia on Zhubi Reef and used natural simulation to imitate the natural process of gradually evolving into an offshore island by wind and wave blowing and carrying coral gravel and other materials in the ocean.

The whole process has less impact on the ecosystem, and some of the damage caused to the coral reefs in the process can be recovered naturally [3]. All of China's Nansha islands and reefs took only a year or so to complete the sand blowing and filling, and then moved on to the construction of infrastructure.

After more than a year of engineering work, the permanent land area of Zhubei Reef has reached 1.36 square kilometers in March 2015, and the area of Zhubei Reef finally reached 4.3 square kilometers by the end of 2.

Seeing China's reclamation of islands, the Western media led by the U.S. made a lot of hype about China's destruction of the environment.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

In February 2015, in response to the unreasonable accusations of the U.S. side, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly stated: China's construction activities on its own islands and waters under its jurisdiction in the South China Sea are reasonable and legitimate, and other countries have no right to make groundless accusations!

When the farce of the South China Sea arbitration case reached its climax in 2016, the foreign minister said that other countries had been carrying out engineering work on the forcibly occupied Spratly islands many years ago, and that China was more than 20 years behind those countries. He also told Western media that China's island reclamation activities had stopped after meeting demand.

Zhubi Reef has not only been transformed into an island, but has also become the second largest island in the Spratlys after Mischief Island. With enough area, China can build a variety of military and civilian security facilities on it.

At present, there are more than 400 buildings of various types on Jubilee Island, including barracks, stores, warehouses, hospitals and movie theaters. In particular, the long and narrow shape of Jubilee Island provides natural convenience for the construction of an airport runway.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

In July 2015 the country began construction of the runway at Jubilee Island Airport, and by mid-October the runway was largely completed.

July 12, 2016 was a historic day when a Cessna light aircraft from the China Civil Aviation Flight Calibration Center, flew a successful calibration flight at Jubilee Island Airport.

The next day at 8:40 Hainan Airlines a civil airliner from Haikou Meilan International Airport took off, only 2 hours of time to Zhubi Island new airport a smooth landing. In the afternoon of the same day the aircraft successfully took off from Zhubi Island back to Haikou, marking the successful construction of Zhubi Island Airport.

The airport is not only convenient for the transportation of personnel and emergency supplies to Zhubi Island, but also the airspace over the South China Sea, which is one of the busiest airspace for international flights.

When the Zhubi Island Airport and other island airports come into operation, it will significantly improve China's service capacity for air traffic in the South China Sea. With the improvement of airport facilities and the allocation of specialized personnel, Zhubi Island is capable of providing civil services in aviation meteorology, emergency standby landing, maritime rescue, marine monitoring, and environmental protection scientific research.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

The first phase of our reserve island was largely completed by the end of 2016. But some people noticed that the original Islet Reef was almost a ring, while the modern Islet Island left a huge gap on the east side. At one time foreign media speculated that China was forced to hold off on reclamation in the South China Sea at that time due to pressure from the United States.

But the fact is that behind the unreasonable media hype but ignored the natural existence of the lagoon of Zhubi Reef, but because of the complete development of the atoll reef no natural waterway and external communication.

Its inner lake is 10 to 24 meters deep and has an area of 7.05 square kilometers. While the reef is wide in the west and narrow in the east usually the water depth is only about 2 meters no entrance, before only small sampans can use the high tide period to enter.

And the lagoon itself is an important function of the coral reefs. Simply put, the water inside the lagoon is able to exchange naturally with the coral reef due to its shelter. In the case of typhoon, the water outside the reef is deep and steep, and there are only waves inside the lagoon, thus facilitating the stay of boats.

As far as the Zhubi reef plate as a whole is high in the west and low in the east, the eastern side is intentionally left to facilitate the flow of water inside and outside the lagoon. Moreover, after building a pier on the outer side of the island, we are considering to build a pier on the inner side by digging a deep lagoon for better berthing of ships.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

More security facilities, vegetable plots and woods make the whole island lush and green

Back in 2016, the country built a lighthouse on Zhubi Island, highlighting the fact that the country's engineering work in the Spratlys is primarily a civilian service.

The lighthouse can not only enhance the surrounding waters to help navigation, navigation management and emergency search and rescue capabilities, itself is also can facilitate the navigation of my ships stationed on the island. Through the construction of desalination plants, the island's garrison has been permanently freed from the plight of "drinking water from the sky".

However, the number of troops stationed on Zhubi Reef has increased significantly after it was upgraded to an island, and it is clearly no longer possible to rely entirely on supplies from the mainland.

Moreover, the location of Zhubi Island is right between the Xisha and several other important islands and reefs in the Spratly under our control, and it should itself assume the responsibility of a logistical staging area.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

But before our soldiers landed on the islands, most of the islands and reefs in the Spratlys were as barren as a desert. This is because although there is no shortage of rain and sunshine, the coral sand is naturally unsuitable for plant growth because of its alkaline nature.

So from the Xisha Islands our soldiers and agricultural personnel have been exploring how to grow crops on the coral islands, and gradually worked out the experience.

The satellite photos of Jubilee Island currently show a green landscape everywhere except for the buildings and the airport.

These greens have low shrubs and lawns, as well as coconut trees and fast-growing wood sorrel, palm trees, and ramshorn trees.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

Even more fascinating is the farm built by our soldiers on their own, which is located in the northern area of Old Reef Fort, southwest of present-day Zhubi Island.

At present Zhubi Island farm not only has vegetable land, but also built a farm and a small fish pond. 6 acres of vegetable land can produce a crop of vegetables every two months or so, the variety of vegetables planted has reached more than 30 kinds, the peak season can provide more than 200 pounds of melons and vegetables for the military and civilians every day.

The farm has both chickens, ducks, geese and pigs, and the small fish pond has silver carp, pond eels, Brazilian turtles and grass turtles.

The construction of the Zhubi Island Farm not only improves the lives of the officers and soldiers stationed on the island, but also offers the possibility of building Zhubi Island into a fishery and tourist specialty island in the future.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

Excellent conditions have become the administrative center of Nansha, which can be used as a springboard for recovering lost land and protecting resources in the future

After the 2016 Sino-US naval standoff in the South China Sea China's engineering security in the Spratlys is absolutely guaranteed and Vietnam and the Philippines no longer dare to take action against the construction of our islands and reefs.

Of the three large islands in China's Spratly that have been built with airports, Meiji Island has been built as a fishing base, Yongxia Island is characterized as a military base, and Zhubi Island is a logistics transit base and administrative base.

First of all, Zhubi Island is located on the eastern edge of the South China Sea international shipping lanes and has the ability to become one of Hainan's important logistics transit bases with its well-developed airport and port facilities.

Secondly, from the experience of the location of Sansha City Government, the administrative site should be close to the mainland and Hainan Island in order to facilitate the administrative management. In addition, the development potential of Zhubi Island is greater, and the installation of an administrative center can also help promote the development of Zhubi Island.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

Currently Zhubi Island Airport is the closest airport to the mainland in China's Spratly Islands, regardless of civil airliners, large military transport aircraft and even other military aircraft can be flown to from Hainan within 2 hours. The construction of this airport has strengthened our physical control over the Spratly Islands while guaranteeing the delivery of supplies to the islands.

In fact, because the South China Sea is too large, relying on a small number of soldiers to board the island to "run around" is unrealistic; to maintain sovereignty depends on the naval and air forces relying on the islands, which is the fundamental purpose of China's reclamation of islands in the South China Sea.

The issue of the occupied South China Sea islands cannot be dragged on indefinitely, and the special historical moment should still be used to get them back in the future. And our military is carrying out large-scale construction on Zhubi Island, which is also aimed directly at Zhongye Island, once the second largest island in the Spratlys.

The island, which was forcibly taken from Taiwan by the Philippines in 1971, is not only large but also has a natural water source. After the reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, our troops will be stationed on Taiping Island, and we can use our superior military strength to force the Philippines to withdraw from Zhongye Island and other occupied islands and reefs.

Zhubi Reef: the second largest island in the Spratlys, greenery is beginning to cover the whole island, making it an important base in the South China Sea

In addition to its value in military strategy, we cannot ignore that west of Zhubi Island is the central basin of the South China Sea. Both domestic and foreign survey results show that the bottom of the South China Sea is a treasure basin, storing nearly 1 billion tons of conventional oil and gas resources.

China is also the first in the world to break through the commercial mining technology of combustible ice, the future of the South China Sea may become China's "Persian Gulf".

But it is clear that countries around the South China Sea have also long coveted such rich oil and gas resources, and have even jumped the gun to drill oil wells in the disputed sea areas between the two sides.

Therefore, the construction of Zhubi Island not only facilitates the development of oil and gas resources for ourselves, but also allows us to use sea and air power to defend the undersea resources belonging to the Chinese.


References

[1] South China Sea Zhubi Island began to fill the island to reveal the past life of Zhubi Island name origin. The largest folklore portal in the west.2015-08-09

[2] Philippine military: Chinese landing ship unloads construction materials to Spratly islands. GlobeNewswire.2013-3-21

[3] Oceanic Bureau: Nansha islands and reefs using the "natural simulation" method does not affect the environment. Netease.2015-06-20