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Friday, November 16, 2012

China and the Azores

Gordon Chang observes at the National Review that the Chinese have taken an interest in Lajes Field, in the Azores. Lajes Field is currently a U.S. Air Force airfield--a very large one, designed to accommodate strategic bombers during the Cold War, and large enough to serve as a backup landing strip for the Space Shuttle. However, what with the end of the Cold War and the use of in-air refueling, the field is little used anymore, and may be abandoned by the U.S. Why the interest from the Chinese? Chang points out:
If China controlled the base, the Atlantic would no longer be secure. From the 10,865-foot runway on the northeast edge of the island, Chinese planes could patrol the northern and central portions of the Atlantic and thereby cut air and sea traffic between the U.S. and Europe. Beijing would also be able to deny access to the nearby Mediterranean Sea.

And China could target the American homeland. Lajes is less than 2,300 miles from New York, shorter than the distance between Pearl Harbor and Los Angeles.
Read the whole thing.

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