Chinese missiles in Spratlys threaten PH int'l air, sea access
Chinese missiles in Spratlys threaten PH int'l air, sea access
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05 May, 2018, 13:24
If these missile systems remain on China's Spratlys bases, no amount of diplomatic rhetoric will placate other South China Sea countries and extra-regional powers like the United States, Japan, and Australia. And the US Navy has been the guarantor of that, Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White told reporters.
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).
On Thursday, the White House warned Beijing that there will be consequences for its growing militarization in the South China Sea.
Anders Corr, an analyst with The Journal of Political Risk, said Beijing's militarization efforts in the South China Sea "constricts" Manila's access to air and sea routes.
"We will continue to do our operations and ensure that the Chinese understand that they can not, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place in which much commerce goes through".
"China has to realize that they've benefited from the free navigation of the sea".
An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017.
"We are concerned anytime a claimant, including China, takes an aggressive unilateral action toward militarisation", he said. USA 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. The YJ-12B has the capability to strike ships within a 295 nautical-mile radius, while the HQ-9B has the potential to target aircraft within 160 nautical miles.
In a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that her nation has been involved in peaceful construction in the islands, which includes "the deployment of necessary national defense facilities".
China, in 2016 declared that it had already deployed similar weapons to Woody Island in the Paracel Islands, on the northwestern edge of the South China Sea.
China has installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles on three of its bases in the Spratly Islands.
The report meanwhile also stated that China has deployed the missiles to Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef in the Spratlys. Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this.
Florin Hilbay, the former government lawyer who argued the case against China at The Hague, said that the government's response to the recent missile deployments "is the weakest possible statement".
"We have been very vocal about our concerns about them militarising these artificial islands".
"We have formally demarched the Chinese government, and we've requested that the Chinese investigate these incidents", she said.
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