U.S. envoy cites importance of naval ship visits in SEA

04 May, 2018, 10:46 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • China has made no mention of any missile deployment in Spratly islands but says its military facilities in the island are purely defensive and that it can do what it likes on its own territory

US news network CNBC reported on Wednesday that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the South China Sea. Neither can seriously contest Chinese claims, however, and the Philippines has expressed concern United States efforts would suck them into a war with China. "Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this", the spokeswoman said in her daily press briefing.

China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea US intelligence officials reportedly said. "We hope that the relevant party could view this matter in an objective and calm way".

China's militarization has alarmed countries both in the region and around the world, prompting freedom of navigation operations by the US Navy to assert its right to travel in worldwide waters. "The further militarization of outposts will only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust among claimants".

One of the disputed reefs in the South China Sea Beijing is militarising.

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"We have formally demarched the Chinese government, and we've requested that the Chinese investigate these incidents", she 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.

"The PLA [People's Liberation Army] will be able to use these bases to challenge U.S. 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.

On the background of strengthening the position of the Chinese Navy in the Pacific, Japan is studying the possibility of construction of the first since the Second world war aircraft carrier.

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Julie Bishop, the foreign minister of USA ally Australia, said the reports, if accurate, would be a concern as the actions would be contrary to China's stated aspiration not to militarize the features.

Last month China's military issued "robust" challenges to three Australian warships as they travelled through the South China Sea to Vietnam.

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

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