China installed missiles in S. China Sea

Casey Dawson
May 4, 2018

The U.S. has warned Beijing that there will be consequences over its latest militarization of the South China Sea, following reports that it had recently installed missile systems on islands in the contested waters. "We've raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences", Sanders said.

A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US intelligence had seen some signs that China had moved some weapons systems to the Spratly Islands in the past month or so, but offered no details.

Fiery Cross Reef in January 2018 - one of the locations of the missile deployments. "Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this", she said, before going on to stress that China will continue to work with all countries to maintain peace and stability in the area.

Both anti-ship and air defense systems were installed by China at sites on artificial islands created in the Spratly chain. "We hope that the relevant party could view this matter in an objective and calm way".

Poling said it would be a major step on China's road to dominating the South China Sea, a key global trade route.

Both Australia and the USA are concerned about freedom of navigation across important trade shipping routes.

"The United States has long raised concerns about the militarization of outposts on disputed features in the South China Sea", said a State Department official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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"We don't comment on matters of intelligence", a spokesman said.

In addition to land-reclamation efforts on reefs it controls and building civilian facilities there, China also has air bases, radar and communications systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry in place including landing strips able to accommodate military planes.

Davidson said China could use the bases to challenge the USA regional presence, and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants".

U.S. Adm. Philip Davidson said last month that China's forward operating bases appear to already be complete.

"China has to realise that they've benefited from the free navigation of the sea, and the US Navy has been the guarantor of that", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

"The only thing lacking are the deployed forces".

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