South China Sea: Beijing installs anti-ship missiles on outposts

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

China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its heavily fortified outposts in the South China Sea.

The United States has spoken directly to China about short- and long-term consequences for its continued militarization in the South China Sea, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing on Thursday.

In April, the Chinese military held its largest ever maritime drill in the disputed South China Sea during which it displayed for the first time the countrys aircraft carrier strike group and the most advance weaponry of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA).

"China's peaceful construction in the Spratly archipelago, including the development of necessary national defense facilities, is aimed at protecting China's sovereignty and security", she said. And its in their interest to ensure that theres a free navigation of worldwide waters, ? she said.

Even with China continually on edge, the US has reaffirmed that it will continue to not only keep a noticeable presence, but also conduct drills as needed.

Reports also say that satellite images have revealed similar missile installations on Woody Island of the Paracel Island chain, south east of Hainan, which some consider China's administrative base in the South China Sea.

China on Wednesday denied the deployment of any missile systems in the region, saying it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the area.

"China, of course, has a unique responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council, to uphold peace and security around the world", Bishop told reporters in Queensland.

"With our recently developed close relationship and friendship with China, we are confident that those missiles are not directed at us", said Harry Roque, spokesmen for President Rodrigo Duterte.

China's installment of missile systems on the Spratly Islands comes amid another move by the country that is a cause for concern in the region. Last year China had built missile shelters on the reefs. "Any action to militarize unilaterally features in the South China Sea would go against that responsibility and that role". The surface-to-air missiles are reportedly HQ-9B type and possess a range of approximately 160 nautical miles.

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