China has positioned surface-to-air missiles launchers in one of its contested islands in South China Sea. US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that United States is going to have “very serious” talks with China regarding militarization of South China Sea.
Kerry said, “There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another. It’s of serious concern…We have had these conversations with the Chinese and I am confident that over the next days we will have further very serious conversation on this.”
The satellite images obtained by Fox News showed that the country is gradually more militarizing the islands in the South China Sea, which has raised tension in the region. The imagery from Image Sat International (ISI) confirmed two batteries of surface-to-air missile launchers and also a radar system on Wooly Island. The island is the part of Paracel Island chain, the same island chain where US Navy destroyer sailed close to, reported Fox News. The incident followed by China’s vow to “consequences” for the action.
Woody Island is a disputed land as it is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. China controls the Paracel Island chain. Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei are also involved in clashes and disputes over islands in the region.
China’s Defense Ministry, on the other hand, claimed that the sea defence system existed in the island for years. The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi also said that these reports were an effort by certain western media to create news.
He commented, “as for the limited and necessary self-defence facilities China has built on islands and reefs stationed by Chinese personnel, that is consistent with the self-defence and self-preservation China is entitled to under international law.”
Another Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that deploying defence facilities on those islands, was completely under China’s sovereignty and had nothing to do with militarization.
US President Barak Obama emphasized that freedom of navigation must be maintained and lawful commerce should not be hampered. He further stated, “The US will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. We will support the right of other countries to do the same.”
The Australian government was also set to question China a few days before on its massive island building programme in the south China sea.
Recently, when US declared that it would help South Korea in developing missile defence system China was “deeply concerned” about the development. It was speculated that China was worried as it thought that the defence system could be used against its own launch system.