U.S. warns China of 'consequences' over militarization in South China Sea
05 May, 2018, 13:21 | Author: Myra Gill
China's installation of missiles in the Spratly islands threatens the Philippines' worldwide access in the disputed South China Sea, an analyst said Saturday.
The United States has raised concerns with China about its latest missile deployment in the South China Sea.
The US today warned China that it would face "consequences" for military buildup in the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems.
Further, Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the global waters.
The U.S. will continue with its freedom of navigation operations in the area "and ensure that the Chinese understand that they can not, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place which much commerce goes through", White said. Earlier this year, official statements from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and editorials in state papers foreshadowed that China might deploy more substantial forces to the Spratly Islands, ostensibly in response to threat from USA warships and plans conducting freedom of navigation operations in their vicinity.
China yesterday defended the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems in the disputed waters, saying it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the area. It is unclear if the missiles remained at the outposts after the April exercises.
China occupies seven features in the Spratly Islands, and since 2013, it has reclaimed over 3,000 acres of land to build military bases and port facilities on.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Given the non-confrontational nature of those presence operations, however, China is more likely using them as pretext for buildups they intended anyway.
In July 2016, The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration handed its verdict in favor of the Philippines' arbitration case contesting China's nine-dash line claims in the WPS. US intelligence says there is a high probability the Chinese military had deployed anti-ship and anti-craft missiles to three artificial islands during recent military drills.
It said that the YJ-12B anti-ship missiles would be able to strike ships up to 295 nautical miles away from the artificial islands.
Adding, "The relevant deployment targets no one". Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this. "We hope that the relevant party could view this matter in an objective and calm way". Its foreign ministry said China has sovereignty over the Spratlys and the deployments were for national security needs and not aimed at any country.
The new Chinese missiles were reportedly deployed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, according to CNBC.
But if the reports proved true, Manila is confident that the missiles "are not directed at us", he said.
"We have formally demarched the Chinese government, and we've requested that the Chinese investigate these incidents", she said.
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