White House warns China of ´consequences´ for military buildup

White House warns China of ´consequences´ for military buildup

Party-list Reps. Gary Alejano of Magdalo and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna issued the warning in light of China's installation of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems, which can reach as far 295 nautical miles (nm) of the reefs and 160 nautical miles, respectively, in the Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

China has denied the claim that it is militarizing the artificial islands in the South China Sea and that its development of the islands is for defensive purposes only.

But Roque added that the Philippines remains "concerned" about the deployments, in what he referred to as "contested areas" in the South China Sea, also referred to in the Philippines as the West Philippine Sea.

The construction of hangars on Mischief Reef is said to be part of China's ˜militarization of the West Philippine Sea.

She said the administration has brought its concerns "directly" to the Chinese government, and also stated that China will face "near term and long term consequences" for the missile installations.

Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank, said deploying missiles on the outposts would be important.

The South China Sea is one of the most contested regions in the world.

On one level the move is hardly surprising, given China has already placed missiles on Woody Island further north, and has installed military hardware on another artificial island in the Spratlys.




Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, also told reporters in Manila that China's latest moves "suggest that they are moving toward militarisation", according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The sources said USA 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. China has to realise that they've benefited from the free navigation of the sea.

The anti-ship missiles reportedly have the range and power to strike a vessel within about 300 nautical miles, and could easily destroy a United States aircraft carrier.

Felter said "the U.S. will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere that worldwide law allows us", and "we encourage other states to exercise those same rights under global law".

But this latest manoeuvre sends an implicit threat to other claimant nations that if they even try to exercise their rights to the Spratly Islands they will come within range of Chinese missiles.

"President Duterte must not forsake the sovereignty of our country to compensate for infrastructure contracts that he has scored with China", Castro said. China claims nearly all of South China Sea.

China "hopes relevant parties can objectively and calmly view this", she added. Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims.

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