USA envoy cites importance of naval ship visits in SEA

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 moved anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles to three of its artificial islands in a disputed area of the South China Sea over the past month, according to a new report.

The sources said U.S. intelligence assessments found the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands within the past 30 days.

A United States official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. 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.

A Pentagon official speaking to USA media said that "The further militarization of outposts will only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust among claimants", reports CNBC.

The Spratly archipelago is disputed from six countries: Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei.

The US has objected to China building the islands, and positioning defenses on them, claiming this violates global law.

Washington warned that Beijing would face unspecified "consequences" over its militarisation of the South China Sea, and said it had raised the issue with China.

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Any peaceful activities, including the deployment of necessary national defence facilities, have been created to safeguard China's sovereignty and security.

Beijing previously announced in 2016 it had already deployed similar weapons to Woody Island in the Paracel Islands, on the northwestern edge of the South China Sea.

Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim on Thursday emphasized the importance of American ship visitations in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region, following concerns about continuous militarization in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). "We've raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences", Sanders said. Dispute the controversy, China has been carrying land-reclamation efforts, building artificial reefs and has established air bases, radar and communication systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry.

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

The US accuses China of deliberate militarization of the region.

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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