Missiles installed by China around disputed islands

Posted May 04, 2018

The South China Sea issue has been brewing for years and involves both island and maritime claims from several countries within the region, namely Brunei, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

She said any action to unilaterally militarise artificial islands in the South China Sea would go against that responsibility.

She said the administration has brought its concerns "directly" to the Chinese government, and also stated that China will face "near term and long term consequences" for the missile installations.

The installation of the new missile systems would bolster China's reach in the region, allowing it to strike vessels 295 nautical miles away and cruise missiles and drones within 160 nautical miles, CNBC reported citing an unnamed source connected to US intelligence.

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According to sources close to the U.S. intelligence, the recent missiles were installed by the Chinese military in the last 30 days in the disputed South China Sea.

Earlier, the U.S. lodged a formal complaint with Beijing after Chinese nationals pointed lasers at USA military aircraft near a base in Djibouti in a number of incidents in recent weeks. China asserts its exclusive territorial claims and sovereignty in the South China Sea.

The US news network CNBC reported China had installed the weapon systems on three of the artificial reefs it had developed in the strategically vital waters.

China has placed on the Islands ground-based anti-ship cruise missiles YJ-12B, capable of striking surface vessels within a radius of more than 500 km, and missiles of a class "earth-air" HQ-9B, which can shoot down airplanes within a radius of 300 km.

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On the topic of the South China Sea, Xi said at the time that "China does not intend to pursue militarization".

US Defence Department spokesperson Dana White said: "China has to realise that they have benefited from the free navigation of the sea and the US Navy has been the guarantor of that".

Adm. Philip Davidson, nominated to take charge of the US Pacific Command, told his confirmation hearing last month that China is already the master of the South China Sea.

"The PLA [People's Liberation Army] will be able to use these bases to challenge USA presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants", Davidson wrote.

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"The only thing lacking are the deployed forces", he said.