In April photographs of a Chinese naval base on Hainan, a large island in the South China Sea, were published worldwide. They show extensive piers and also tunnels sunk into the hillside; it is not entirely clear whether ships or submarines can enter the tunnels. One photo shows the entire tunnel, including its bottom, so it appears to be entirely above water. Another photograph shows a Chinese strategic nuclear-powered submarine tied to a pier at the base. Apparently the existence of the base has been known since 2002, and it is somewhat surprising that news organizations, with access to commercial imaging satellites, have paid it no attention until now. Those who published the photographs considered the base a major new development in the long-standing Chinese attempt to dominate the South China Sea, and probably also a new threat to Taiwan.
World Naval Developments: Going Underground
By Norman Friedman