Satellite pictures have emerged which show how China has recently upgraded three military bases facing Taiwan, sparking fresh fears that an invasion of the disputed island is impending, following heightened tensions between the two countries.
After recent threats of airstrikes, there are now concerns that China could use the upgraded air bases to launch these attacks.
The images, taken by Planet Labs and first published by The Drive, suggest that construction work at the three bases started early last year and continued throughout the pandemic.
The latest pictures at the air force bases were taken earlier this month.
They are all located in China's Fujian province along the country's south-eastern coast – Longtian, Huian, and Zhangzhou.
The bases are just 100 and 200 miles from Taiwan, fuelling concerns that the upgrades to each of them could be part of a plan to launch airborne assault operations on the island.
Improvements include new administrative buildings and new storage bunkers.
China has been outspoken in its desire to 'reunify' Taiwan with the mainland.
Earlier this month, China flew a record number of missions into Taiwan's airspace, adding up to over 150 in total.
The upgrades to the air force bases come as the head editor of China's state-run newspaper, the Global Times, called for an airstrike to "eliminate" US troops based in Taiwan, who he referred to as "invaders".
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He called on China's People's Liberation Army Air Force to launch a "targeted airstrike" against them.
In addition, an "invasion playbook" showed that air strikes against US troops and warships could be part of China's phased attack on Taiwan.
Antony Wong Tong, a China military expert, said: "Longtian looks like it will be used as an alternate aerodrome after a massive refurbishment.
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"While the four new hardened aircraft shelters and the existing functional 24 aircraft sunshade shelters in Huian airbase tell us it will be able to house a full-scale aviation brigade."
To add to the fears, Global Times released a military propaganda video from the People's Liberation Army earlier this week, which shows Chinese troops simulating an invasion of Taiwan.
The drill showed the soldiers storming a beach, breaking up barb wire and digging ditches.
China has long claimed the self-governing island off its east coast as its territory, and says Taiwan must eventually come under its control.
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