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China deploys missiles in South China Sea, says it has ‘indisputable sovereignty’

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BEIJING: China on Thursday defended the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems in the disputed South China Sea, saying it has “indisputable sovereignty” over the area.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China claims almost all of South China Sea. Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

China defends South China Sea military buildup

China’s military says it’s entitled to strengthen its defences on islands in the disputed South China Sea but says those measures aren’t directed at any specific countries. The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported yesterday that China has installed military jamming devices in the area

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha (known as Spartly) islands and its affiliated islands,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here when asked about the reported of deployment of the missiles.

Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims over Spratly islands.

“China’s activities in the South China Sea is to uphold our sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is our right,” she said.

Virtually confirming the deployment of the missiles, Hua said, “relevant deployment is not directed against any country. The relevant parties should not be concerned about this and should view this in an objective way.”

How Beijing is winning in the South China Sea

Over the last week, Beijing has conducted major military drills, including reportedly sending its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait and flying jets between Japan’s southernmost islands (the latter of which was explicitly described by the Chinese military as a preparation for future wars).

The US media reports earlier said China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea.

The reports said the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef within the past 30 days.

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 country’s aircraft carrier strike group and the most advance weaponry of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The drill was held amid frequent forays made by US naval and aircraft into the South China Sea to assert the freedom of navigation especially around the artificial islands built by China, where it has also established garrisons.

The strategic South China Sea is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources and is a busy shipping route.

Updated: May 3, 2018 — 11:54 am

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