Vastavam web: China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea, U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.The move, if confirmed, would mark the first Chinese missile deployments in the Spratly Islands, where several Asian countries including Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims.
The U.S. Defence Department, which opposes China’s installation of military facilities on outposts it has built up in the South China Sea, declined comment. “We don’t comment on matters of intelligence,” a spokesman said.China has made no mention of any missile deployments but says its military facilities in the Spratlys are purely defensive, and that it can do what it likes on its own territory.
He added that such deployments were expected as China built missile shelters on the reefs last year and already deployed such missile systems on Woody Island further to the north.Poling said it would be a major step on China’s road to dominating the South China Sea, a key global trade route.CNBC said the YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles allowed China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles. It said the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles could target aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.
Last month, U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head U.S. Pacific Command, said China’s “forward operating bases” in the South China Sea appeared complete.“The only thing lacking are the deployed forces,” he said. Once these were added, “China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania”.